I grow weary of all the bickering in our world, especially among those who follow Christ. We so easily buy into Satan’s lies that if others’ opinions differ from ours, then we must remove them from our lives. What happened to our tolerance for others? And what does the Word of God teach us about accepting others?
No human emotion is new in our world. Throughout history, we find the same problems repeated over and over. And intolerance is no exception. The definition of intolerance is “unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.” The Apostle Paul addresses this situation in Romans 14. So, let’s break down this chapter to see his view of our current situations.
Biblical Tolerance Accept Others
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.Romans 14:1
Paul is explicit in this message, “do not quarrel over opinions.” How many of us fought with friends over politics, especially during the last few years? Unfortunately, when we believe others are wrong in their opinions, we set ourselves up as judges over them. We think we know more than them, and Satan uses this pridefulness to destroy our relationships with others.
Eventually, these same thoughts will impact our relationship with God also. God warns us throughout the Bible not to be prideful or judgmental even if we think we are right. We see one example in Luke 6:37; “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Godly Tolerance Keeps us from Pride
“Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”Romans 14:3-4
We think we know the mind of God better than someone else does. So, for example, some Christians believe getting the vaccine is a lack of faith, while others believe that it directs them to get it. Of course, both can be right in the eyes of God. But, our pride causes us to pass judgment on another servant of God. The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 16:18; “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Tolerance Focuses On Self
“5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”Romans 14:5-6
We all need to spend our time worrying about our walk of faith. Let God deal with what others are doing in their faith. Our differences should provide us the opportunity to spread Christ’s love, not divisions. If I spend all my time loving others like Christ, I won’t have time to worry about someone else’s faith. My faith calls me to look to Christ in all circumstances, not give my opinion. Again, the Bible reminds us in John 13:35; “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Paul is addressing our attitudes in these passages. It is not just about the food or the day of the week. Therefore, we must examine our perspective in the situations we face. And our views must be Biblically based, not opinion-based. Here are a couple of verses to help you remember to offer tolerance.
“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”Romans 16:17
“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.”Matthew 7:3-5
Dearest Lord, please help us see when we are letting our opinions overshadow Your instructions. I want to love everyone the way You love me. So please teach me how to hold my tongue and allow You to correct others. Thank you, Jesus. I love You. Amen.
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Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”