Let’s talk about tolerance, or for that matter intolerance. You may ask why I make no distinction between these opposing attitudes? The answer is this: sometimes when persons accuse you of being intolerant, they may in fact be complimenting you. When it comes to certain matters, it just makes sense to be intolerant of them. Why should anyone tolerate attitudes, behaviours and practices that one knows are detrimental to persons or communities? Should the police tolerate those who abuse all the rules of road safety and courtesy? Should our schools tolerate bullying by either obnoxious parents or antisocial children? Should we continue to tolerate the degradation and pollution of our environment by those motivated only by greed? And is it now supposed to be a virtue to tolerate immoral and unwholesome behaviours?
You may have observed, however (for it is quite evident) that in certain circles the concept of the pen being mightier than the sword has strategically been used to promote ideologies and immoral lifestyles under the artificially elevated value of “tolerance.” Apparently all concepts of right and wrong must now bow to the supreme ethic of tolerance. Good wordsmiths among the promoters of immorality know that one quick jab with the word “intolerant” will permanently silence the majority of those who disagree with them. (And, God forbid that we teach our children that there is any value or attitude more important than tolerance.)
Of course, as you may have noticed, this supreme ethic of tolerance is quite one-sided. It is apparently quite appropriate for the supporters of blatantly sex-promoting parades and purveyors of a mutated reality about human sexuality and gender identity to call pro-family and pro-biblical ideologues intolerant, and at times using highly abusive language, but (again) God forbid that those who oppose them dare express their views on these matters. Out comes the “intolerant” sword.
Sorry folks, it doesn’t scare everyone. Some of us know that tolerance is a good thing in the right context, just as is intolerance. In case someone feels like pulling out the “Jesus was all about love” and tolerance sword, let me disabuse you of that notion. Here are his words to the church in Revelation 2:20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practise sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”
Clearly the Son of God, who promoted and demonstrated love as the supreme ethic, sees no inconsistency between loving someone and being intolerant of their conduct. In truth, then, it is the antithesis of love to encourage or promote practices that are morally, socially and spiritually destructive to people for whom Christ died. It is time for a heightened intolerance of evil in our homes, schools and society as a whole. (Pastor Alson Ebanks)