iPOD Religion – Part 1 (Tolerance vs. New Tolerance)

  Inspirmedia   Oct 23, 2005     0 Comment

October 23, 2005

Bible Text: Romans 12:18 |

Series:

Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

 

NIV John 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

 

DRAMA: TOLERANCE

 

I had a dream.  In my dream I saw Moses coming down from the mountain … with no stone tablets.  The leaders of God’s people ask him where the 10 commandments are, and Moses responds, “There aren’t 10.  He changed His mind.  There’s only one.  Thou shalt not be intolerant.”

 

Or as Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

 

Who is more reflective of Jesus – the dad or the son?

 

Let me define for you what I and others call “The New Tolerance”  The “New Tolerance” states that “all opinions are equally valid.  Every belief, value, lifestyle and perception of truth is equal.”

 

there is no absolute _____________________ of right/wrong

 

in order to be tolerant you must accept another person’s position as being just as ___________ as our own, and give your approval, endorsement, and sincere support to their beliefs and behaviors

 

there can be no distinction between who a person ______ and what a person ___________ (that person’s beliefs, behavior, culture or lifestyle)

 

Is this reflective of Jesus?  Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “Judge not, lest you be judged”?  Was Marc right when he jumped all over his dad for not being Christian in his attitude?

 

Let’s take a closer look at that passage we read earlier, from Matthew 7.  Let’s not stop at verse 5 this time – let’s continue on further.

 

NIV Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

 

Don’t you see here what Jesus is doing in verse 6?  Quote it.  He tells us that we need to distinguish – judge – between those who are dogs and those who are not.  Let’s skip for today what He means by ‘dogs’ – the point here is that only 5 verses after He says, “Do not judge.”  He then commands us to judge.  What gives???

 

Let me propose an answer, and then let’s test my answer by considering some other scenes from Jesus’ life.  Here goes.

 

When Jesus says, “Do not judge”, He is talking about judging the heart.  He’s not talking about judging actions.

 

When Jesus says, “Do not judge”, He is talking about applying a standard to someone else that you would not apply to yourself.

 

When Jesus says, “Do not judge”, He is talking about condemning both repentant and unrepentant sinner alike, with no regard for God’s mercy.

 

But Jesus is NOT saying that we should no longer distinguish good from evil, no longer distinguish right from wrong.

 

And so when the woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus, Jesus senses that this is not a sinner claiming perfection; rather she is a sinner cowering in fear.  He does not condemn her; that is, He does not “judge” her.  He forgives her … AND tells her to go and sin no more.

 

The New Tolerance of the son in our drama would NOT tell this woman that she is forgiven … for it would say that she had done nothing wrong.  And it would certainly NOT tell this woman to go and sin no more … for she had never sinned in the first place – she had simply chosen a different lifestyle.

 

Do you see what’s going on here?  Our culture has changed the definition of what it means to be ‘tolerant’.  Our culture knows that Jesus calls us to tolerance … and so they have taken that word and command of Jesus, changed its definition … and haven’t let us in on the secret.  And so we are flummoxed.  I love that word.  Flummoxed.

 

Here’s the difference between Biblical Tolerance and the New Tolerance, as clearly as I can state it:

 

Biblical Tolerance loves this woman, extends forgiveness and a new way of life that is full and meaningful.

 

The New Tolerance accepts this woman, tells her that her life is OK – I’m OK, You’re OK - respectable, and encourages her to continue to live however she pleases.  In fact, it says that her adultery is just as valid of a lifestyle as marital faithfulness.

 

Do you see the difference?  Christians are daily clubbed over the head and accused of being intolerant.  And because we do not understand the new definition of the word ‘tolerance’, we succumb to the charges of intolerance and mumble and hem and haw and walk away, thinking something must be wrong with us and yet not being quite sure of that either … much like dad and mom in our drama for today.

 

Jesus was constantly and consistently the friend of sinners.  He was Biblically tolerant.  He was steadfast in proclaiming God’s love for sinners.  He was unwavering in declaring God’s mercy for sinners.

 

But He also constantly and consistently called sin ‘sin’.  Missing the mark.  Falling short of perfection.  He never backed down, He never compromised.  Jesus never proclaimed God’s acceptance of alternative lifestyles; rather He proclaimed God’s love for sinners, for people living wrongly.

 

Going back to the drama.  Jesus is very clear.  Jesus loves everyone.  Jesus loves straight people.  Jesus loves gay people.  Jesus loves single people and Jesus loves married people.  But Jesus does not accept someone’s sinful lifestyle as right, noble or good.  No, it is wrong.  Period.

 

We can’t let ourselves be swayed on this.  We can’t accept The New Tolerance.  We simply can’t let people say that Jesus’ position is intolerant.  Why?  Because our very salvation is at stake.  Think about it.  If we accept the New Tolerance, if we accept that everyone’s lifestyle is just as valid as everyone else’s, if we accept that things formerly known as sin are now just a lifestyle choice … then where is salvation?  We have nothing from which we are saved.  Why have Jesus?  Why have Him dying on the cross to forgive the things we’ve done wrong … if we’ve done nothing wrong???

 

No, as opposed to the New Tolerance as the Christian message is, at the very real risk of being labeled as intolerant, I tell you today, You are a sinner.  There are 10 commandments, and you’ve broken all 10.  Multiple times.  There are things in your life that are just plain wrong.  But I’ve got good news – Jesus has forgiven those sins.  At your lowest point, when you are in need of God’s mercy – then His love is there for you in ways that are simply too much for words!

 

Well, we’ve got to close out here.  What do you say when someone accuses you of being intolerant?  How should dad have responded to Marc in our drama?

 

If I’m that dad, I start out like this:  “Well, Marc, you’re being pretty intolerant today!”  I turn it right around and give it right back … not to be mean, but to make him think.  Besides, being labeled intolerant is the absolute last thing anyone wants today.  “So, Marc, you’re pretty intolerant yourself!”  And when he protests, state your view and just see whether he tolerates your view or not – that is, just see whether he allows you to love the sinner and hate the sin, just see whether he allows you to love the person but condemn the lifestyle.  He won’t – that is, he simply won’t tolerate your view.  You won’t get very far … but you’ll get him thinking.

 

Tell him that you follow the Lord Jesus, who taught that there was a ‘most excellent way’, the way of love.  You follow Jesus, who saw the destruction of sinful lifestyles … and loved people enough to call them out of those lifestyles.  You follow Jesus, who actively sought to promote the good for those around Him.  You follow Jesus, who has called you to not judge the heart, to accept the person … but rather to evaluate, that is, judge, the actions … and bring forgiveness of sin and the new life of Christ.

 

Let’s pray…

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