Toleration according to Brittanica is: “a refusal to impose punitive sanctions for dissent from prevailing norms or policies or a deliberate choice not to interfere with behaviour of which one disapproves”.
It is the latter part of this definition that makes it an issue that’s got profound bearings on Christianity – not interfering with behaviour which one disapproves.
Christians are a group of people who believe in absolutes as regards faith and moral obligations. This is grounded in our belief that God gives these laws.
To take it further, we also believe that we have the responsibility to influence our society with the message of the gospel upon which our faith is built – this means we will disapprove of some practices.
Influencing culture is where the challenge lies. Toleration advocates for not interfering with the behaviour and opinions of others, yet, the Christian has the mandate to interfere. God wants him not only to seek that the unconverted are converted, but that his area of influence shines with the light of Christ.
Shining this light becomes an issue since the believer holds on to absolutes from the word of God concerning basic societal issues, although he is a part of a society of opposing views and ideologies. He is therefore faced with the challenge of being ‘cancelled’ if he does not compromise. He is left with the other option of compromise and redefining/distorting these absolutes to earn the world’s approval.
In this blogpost, I would briefly share my thoughts on how the believer ought to think about this and the right heart slant that would be of help.
LOVE IS NOT BLIND TOLERATION
The first premise to lay is that the Christian faith is built on love and sacrifice. The very events of the gospel are hinged on the sacrifice of a saviour that stands in our stead and bears the punishment for our sins.
Now, this leads me to the first issue that I will want the believer caught in this web to ponder. The problem is that we unknowingly adopt a definition of love that is strange to biblical standards. Love is not blind toleration.Love is not blind toleration. Biblical love acknowledges the existence of truth and absolutes on issues. Truth does not get to be defined by individuals, it’s meant to be discovered and accepted. Click To Tweet
The world portrays that the definition of love is to be all-permissive, allowing everyone to define their moral standards as they please. But, the believer is enjoined to speak the truth in love, and at the very essence of truth is its objectivity. Truth does not get to be defined by individuals, it’s meant to be discovered and accepted.The world portrays a love that is all-permissive, allowing everyone to define their moral standards as they please. Biblical love however seeks to conform everyone to the truth in the Christlike fashion. Click To Tweet
We find that biblical love acknowledges the existence of truth and absolutes on issues – especially those related to morality.
Love seeks to conform everyone to the truth in the Christlike fashion, not to allow everyone to redefine truth to suit their preference. Our love-walk then is seen in how we desire to see the unsaved saved and persuaded of the absolutes of God’s standards.
We do this knowing that the standards of God are not just harsh restrictions by a fascist that does not care about our well-being. It would only make sense to think that the creator is in the best position to know the standards that would serve for human flourishing.God's standards are not just harsh restrictions by a fascist that does not care about our well-being. It makes sense to think that the creator is in the best position to know the standards that would serve for human flourishing. Click To Tweet
YOUR APPROACH MATTERS
The believer must watch against the hate that comes with moral differences between two parties. The contention for the faith must be done God’s way, not with the strength of the flesh. We are not called to take up arms for our God. Cancel culture is not the Christian way.Contention for the faith must be done God’s way, not with the strength of the flesh. We are not called to take up arms for our God. Cancel culture is not the Christian way. Will never be. Click To Tweet
Indeed, men will have divergent views, the believer however is not obliged to uphold them or maintain neutrality, if they are contrary to God’s standards.
We must follow peace with all men, and speak the truth in love. But, remember, that love is not redefining truth to suit an individual’s preference.We must follow peace with all men, and speak the truth in love. But, remember, that love is not redefining truth to suit an individual or a group's preference. Click To Tweet
THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR HOME
The Christian is an alien in this world and the world is constantly opposing the lordship of God’s standard. Oftentimes, Christians compromise their standards because they have unknowingly begun to feel at home in this transient world, and thus seek acceptance from the system. Our call to influence our world is not a call to make it our home.As heavenly citizens, our call to influence our world is not a call to make it our home. The believer must not be in the business of trying to find a compromise between God’s standards and the world system. Click To Tweet
Jesus said to his disciples in plain terms that the world would hate them for it hated him also. We must not live in the fantasy and deception that the world seeks our spiritual flourishing.
Knowing this, we must live with the mindset that the world would constantly rebel against God’s standards. Thus, the believer is not in the business of trying to find a compromise between both parties – God’s standards and the world system.
Redefinition of truth sometimes happens because we are trying to align God’s standards with a rebellious system. If we settle it in our hearts that this is only a fantasy that would never happen, we would be better prepared for the hostility we receive from the world when we advocate and affirm God’s standards.
The Christian should be unflinching and not give in to the pressure to cut down on God’s standard because of the world’s hostility. God himself strengthens us for this cause. Our call is that which is not rid of persecution. Know this and prepare your heart to bear it gracefully.