Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Note: Today's post is kind of a "soap box" for me, if you will. Just some thoughts...random mostly. But definitely from the heart.
Tolerance is defined as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own. I often think of this word when trying to reconcile differences between my spiritual perspective and the actions of others. Experience has shown me that most people expect Christians to tolerate anyone who is different. I am not opposed to that, in fact I would encourage it. For example, I love homosexuals. I don't agree with the lifestyle they've chosen because it is defined as sin in the bible. While I don't condone their actions, I sincerely accept and love them as people.
This tolerance is rarely, if never, reciprocated towards Christians. Instead, they are ridiculed and persecuted for being close minded. We're the only people who are not allowed to say "no, that's wrong, I don't agree with that." That is probably an extreme view but it's accurate based on my experiences.
I absolutely hate the fact that people (to be more specific, critics of the Christian faith) are always worried about people being offended. They don't want nativity scenes displayed around town. Christmas trees in department stores might even viewed as offensive if someone doesn't celebrate Christmas. On the other side of the coin though, I don't take offense if I see a menorah. I'm not offended when I drive past a muslim place of worship. Again, going back to that point from before, I may not agree with someone's beliefs but I am not going to force them through legislation to remove or hide all signs of their faith.
Christians are held to a different standard. We must tolerate everyone else, yet no one will consider tolerating us. I know I'm making extreme generalizations here, but honestly I wouldn't expect anything different. As Christians we are to expect persecution if we identify with Christ. But it's because of our identity in Christ that we can take joy in both the persecution that comes with it as well as the blessings.
I pray you take joy this holiday season in being intolerable. Relish what we have in common with Christ. Expect persecution and ridicule but remain confident that God will bless you as you perservere. Blessings to you on the Eve of Christmas! What joy we have because of the life that was given us in Christ Jesus.