Monday, March 24, 2014

Tolerance and Truth

When can you agree to disagree? When can you tolerate a difference of opinion?

(by reoplusone by d4aygea on deviant art)

We can always agree to disagree with people, but when God reveals truth to us we must yield to Him.

It is stiff-necked and sinful to be shown truth by God, clearly in His Word, and for us to choose to believe differently. The Holy Spirit is an able teacher. God's Word illuminates Itself.

I can always agree to disagree with another person's opinion, but I should never agree to disagree with God. What right do I have? When I stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord, my creator and the creator of the universe, what arrogance it would take to try to convince Him that He is "old fashion," not 21st Century, not relevant to the trends and times.

God does not ordain homosexuality, just as He does not condone adultery, pre-martial sex, or perverted participation in porn. More strongly than not ordaining or condoning, God commands his believers --his children-- to not participate in these activities and calls them sins. Therefore, it is right in the eyes of God for his children to take strong personal stands against these.

However, forcing the beliefs of God on another has never been God's desire. From the beginning of mankind, He wanted Adam and Eve to CHOOSE to love and obey Him. He gave them freewill. Actions have consequences. Choosing to sin results in great loss. Nevertheless, God still operates under the natural laws of human freewill and its resulting consequences of blessings or curses.

How is this practical in today's world?

Among large groups of people --like political parties, schools, communities, organizations -- individuals will never be in the same place of their knowledge of who God is and how yielded they are to His sovereignty in life. We can speak truth and pray for others to be revealed God's love, acceptance and will for them, but we cannot constrain another's heart.

Personal Experience

Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit; Condemnation comes from Satan. I think sometimes in meaning well by wanting someone to see God's truth, I can become condemning in my words. When someone insults my faith or twists the teachings of God's Words, I must exercise great caution and be exacting but loving in my response. Sometimes I will be asked by God to remain silent; other times I will be urged to speak the truth, but never should I use truth to destroy a person or beat them up.

These are very hard lessons to learn. And when I fail to speak the truth in love I cause hurt to others, which is damaging to their soul and unloving. Therefore, I am so grateful that God is forgiving, gracious, patient, long-suffering and merciful toward me. In repentance before God, I realize my absolutely helplessness to function apart from Him. I have to come to the end of myself, dragging the wrong I have done into the light, and asking for forgiveness. But, I must also ask the person I hurt to forgive me.

Let's Be Practical

It is very possible to agree to disagree on policy and political matters, when a consensus is not reached. This does not mean you are surrendering your beliefs. You are simply allowing another person to have their own beliefs and allowing them to respect yours that are different.

I am grateful to always be open to God to learn and grow.

Tolerance is touchy. Today, tolerance has pushed its way into being "a forced acceptance of opposing beliefs". That is not tolerance -- that is a demanding that one person give up their conscientious beliefs and be forced to swallow down and condone an opposing view -- that is oppression. When we agree to disagree we don't flaunt or shove our believes on others. We respect the fact that we have differences and honor one another enough to not force others to accept our opinions as facts.

We still have a lot of improvement to make on understanding how tolerance is being used as a tool to indoctrinate and how intolerant it is of any differing point of view. God created a man with the ability to reason. Topics should be able to be discussed widely and deeply, without penalty of condemnation if everyone does not come up with the same conclusions.




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