Let’s Talk Tolerance Versus Patience

Before looking at Jesus’ understanding of tolerance directly, a discussion on the role of tolerance and its impact on society will be addressed.

Americans and western societies of all parties, denominations, and sects embrace tolerance as a sign of intellectual and spiritual maturity and a necessary civil good or a means to peace. But the only pathways to embracing tolerance are twofold: 1) to accept the teaching that truth is relative to the person or culture that defines it (i.e., there is no absolute truth) and 2) to be entirely ignorant of this fact. Truth is the enemy of anything that contradicts it; therefore, any person who embraces thoughts and behaviors that contradict specific revelation from God (Scriptures) and intellectual reasoning, the product of which is general revelation based on observation, must force tolerance on those who embrace the existence of absolute truth. One can be accused of lying or being intolerant simply by not agreeing with or thinking that another individual’s personal perspective. i.e., his or her view of the truth is wrong. Nothing is more offensive than accusing someone of being wrong. To accuse someone of being wrong or, heaven forbid, lying is, therefore, intolerant, arrogant, regressive, archaic, offensive and childish, even racist. Consequently, everyone in society must be tolerant so as not to offend.

Eventually, divine and reasoned truth are replaced by “the truth” that must be tolerated. This new and tolerated absolute truth becomes the property of an immoral, intellectual and vindictive elite who must take and maintain control of the nation’s institutions (marriage, education, government) by force of law to control the chaos that will inevitably increase throughout society. Identifying evil, which was once a moral good, becomes anything that stands against this new elite class, which, oddly enough, is then praised for being intolerant. Consequently, truth and evil reverse places (good becomes bad and bad becomes good) and a new intolerance is encouraged against those who earlier were guilted into becoming tolerant lambs. The Creator’s truth (acquired with general objective revelation, i.e., science, and specific revelation–His revealed Word) is substituted by a human construct for truth (acquired with subjective experience or what the elites think best, and then enforced by the rule of law). The only problem is that this new truth or “utopia” is 180 degrees in conflict with reality. Again, the pathway to this false and intolerant “utopia” is tolerance and the willingness of the many to fall under its intoxicating impairment due to greed or some ridiculous sense of entitlement. Tolerance is no virtue; it is a vicious vice that impairs and bewitches the victims who are its prey.  Tolerance flips divine morality on its head so that immorality is set free to become the new morality, which eventually defiles the conscience (the soul) and sets people against one another, and then replaces a republican form of government with some far right or left-wing dictatorship.[1] and [2]

Today’s Democrat and Socialist elites are the perfect example of the projection of tolerance as a virtue; the Republican elites, over the last 50 or so years, have attached themselves to this vice of the Democrats, and Libertarians and so-called Conservatives[3]—well, only time will tell. If this tolerance epidemic continues and spreads around the world, hell on earth is the expectation; this is certainly not the consequence we hope and work to avoid through social and political involvement. The moral vacuum created by relativity will be filled with immoral and deadly philosophies that will create a collision between the various secular philosophies, in which I include extremely intolerant Islam. Tolerance for the sake of avoiding personal and moral responsibilities will end with the most egregious form of intolerance; that is, chaos in all its limitless and violent expressions.

The Christian responsibility to remain involved in social and political spheres of life is not only a part of the Great Commission that our Lord gave to the Church, it is also a responsibility placed upon every believer by the two great commandments that encapsulate the Ten Commandments: love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40 and Galatians 5:13-14).  Sadly, many Christians and Jews have embraced the new “virtue” of tolerance, covered their eyes and held back their hands so as not to see or lend a hand in the prevention of moral decay and collapse—they tolerate so as not to offend and end up being Christian in name and secular in practice. God is reduced to be replaced so that humankind can be elevated. In the end, only the elite governing class is elevated; the rest of us will be left poor and expendable.

The Relationship Between Tolerance and Good and Evil

What is the relationship between tolerance and good and evil? No good theologian or objective historian should argue against the fact that evil is the default tendency in human nature. History is the back and forth tension of a fragile good struggling to survive an ever-present and intrusive evil. Good is the unnatural intruder that demands control of human intellectual, physical and emotional behavior. Evil, on the other hand, abhors controls that limit power, ambition, and gratification. The result of the natural divergence between these two opposites is a perpetual war of words and or weapons. There is always war, or at best an uncomfortable and brief peace as good and evil compete against one another for control.  But because there truly is a God, good, through reformation or through the harsh realities of unrestrained evil, comes back into vogue in certain places in the world for short periods of time until good is once again overrun and corrupted by evil, which once again returns the world to its natural state of confusion and conflict, and the cycle goes on. Amazingly, the great strategy used against good is always the same: good must be made to tolerate (i.e., permit) evil. Tolerance is the slow contamination of purity; a little arsenic isn’t going to kill you, a little leaven is tolerable; before long, patience is tolerance and sex is love—the words are interchangeable and their meanings lost. License replaces freedom and selfish or sensual aggrandizements of every shade are personal rights and acceptable (abortion, sexual freedom, homosexuality, homosexual marriage, transgenderism, no borders, and either the exploitation or hatred of God). Eventually, the war of words turns again to a war of weapons and the “evil overcoming good” cycle repeats itself again. Human beings, in their natural and fallen state, are incapable of learning from history— reoccurring amnesia always blinds the mind to its inescapable and cyclical fate: good, tolerance, evil; good tolerance, evil.  It should be a given that this cycle is in play at all times and in different degrees between individuals, towns, counties, states, countries, regions and hemispheres throughout the world. The only restraint to an intrinsic evil, the only entity that holds the world together is the all-inspiring, involved and invasive God, who, throughout history and by His mercy, graciously plucks thousands upon thousands of individuals out of this incessant death spiral. Human beings, not Him, are the perpetual problem; He alone is the solution to humanity’s natural inclination to tolerate evil and rebuff true freedom, a freedom that exists only in the confines of divine morality, a morality which ensures that the human conscience is good and guarding the body and soul as divinely intended.

Tolerance and Freedom of Speech

 How does tolerance affect freedom of speech?  With regard to morality, tolerance disparages freedom of speech; with regard to immorality, it defends freedom of speech.  When I was in the US Navy, a few friends and I went to Congress to protest the Navy’s and the Chaplain Corps’ attempt to regulate prayer. They want to make all prayer nonsectarian or secular in nature in order to “protect” anyone who would feel offended by or made uncomfortable by the mention of a word (primarily the name of Jesus). The government was protecting the free speech of complainants while protesting against the free speech of those who pray. The problem here should be self-evident. The prospect of being offended is so offensive that free speech should be curtailed. Free speech is intended to protect the speaker from government harassment and sanction; it does not protect the hearer of the speech in any sense; in fact, the idea of protecting the hearer is nonsensical in that free speech in and of itself guarantees that hearers will be offended from time to time. Government intrusion in this way is not only unlawful, but it reveals the government’s intention to silence free speech that offends the government.

Patience Versus Tolerance

Is there a difference between patience and tolerance? Absolutely! Simply stated, tolerance does not desire or expect an eventual change in attitudes and behaviors that are intrinsically destructive in nature while, on the other hand, patience hopes and looks for and awaits a necessary change of attitudes and behaviors that are intrinsically constructive in nature. Tolerance is the so-called virtue of evil while patience is the virtue of good. Tolerance and patience are assumed to be synonyms when, in fact, they are antonyms with extreme and contrary results. Tolerance has evil consequences and eventually leads to divine judgment (see again footnote number 1), while patience hopes for change, the opportunity for personal and civil peace, as well as eternal peace with God. Patience, therefore, is the virtue; tolerance is the vice!

Jesus Exemplifies Patience

What was Jesus’ preferred attitude: tolerance or patience? Who made this comment? “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34). These are the words of Jesus. Was Jesus a warmonger? Of course not, and to suggest so is utter nonsense. He, in his thoughts and actions, is the epitome of truth, which by nature, is the sworn enemy of evil. His word of truth, his very presence is the knife of justice that cuts through the butter of sin or self-righteousness. His ministry focuses on the failures of those who stray from truth to embrace hubris and personal gain at the expense of others. He is the irritating light that blinds the way of the wicked. His existence is an instinctive, innate agitation to any and all things evil, a metaphorical sword that cuts through the hypocrisy of all things contrary to his character. If not restrained by His love and patience, a divine judgment would always be swift and without mercy. Jesus, by nature and character, is intolerant with evil, that is, with anything that is unloving, unjust or unrighteous (see Jeremiah 9:23-24). Truth guides the mind and heart of the Savior and it must guard ours. Love does not tolerate the harming of others. Plainly stated, love is never tolerant; it is patient and nurturing.

Consider whether or not these comments communicate tolerance: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so, you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Consequently, you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell” (Matthew 23:27-33)?  Patience, yes (this judgment was not immediately carried out); tolerance, no! Jesus is clearly not embracing multicultural relativism and diversity. He views the beliefs and attitudes of these so-called men of faith as clearly wrong. The religious and political leaders of the first century AD corrupted the truth that brings people to God where they find mercy and everlasting grace. How could the world’s only Savior be tolerant of those who failed their primary responsibility, which was to reflect His Father’s character and will to others? How could His children, the sole repository and representation of truth, not stand up against a cultural attempt to rid itself of divine truth, morality, and real lasting hope? Anyone who corrupts truth and denies others access to it must be held accountable for their self-righteous egotism that condemns others to an eternity separate from Almighty God. Where tolerance abides, eternal or absolute truth can have no place; therefore, secularists must argue against certainty (i.e., truth) and in favor of ever-evolving truth, of which they are the arbitrators or judges. See also Matthew 18:3-6.

In revealing the reasons for divine judgment to the Church of Thyatira, the Son of God makes this condemnation: “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But, I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads my bondservants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality” (Revelation 3:19-21). This is the only place in the New American Standard Bible where the word ”tolerate” is used and it is clearly used in a negative way. Because the people did not speak out against this immoral woman, but “tolerated” her presence and her activities, she was able to influence others to join her in her debauchery. This toleration brought judgment from the Lord, not praise.

It is of special interest to look at the original Greek word that is translated, “to tolerate” in this passage. The word is aphiemi, in its original sense, has the meaning of “to dismiss, to let or to permit.” Therefore, when a person tolerates a bad behavior, he is allowing, letting, dismissing or permitting behavior that is unacceptable, or better, intolerable and worthy of rejection. In Revelation 3:20, the people permitted behavior that is clearly immoral and detrimental to the welfare of the congregation. Today we are taught that tolerance is a virtue that allows people to live freely as Americans when what is actually taking place is “granting permission” for people to morally harm themselves and others. To tolerate is to permit immoral behavior for fear of offending the offender. It is grossly unloving. Toleration removes the guilt that is designed to produce repentance or change in behavior. It happily and willfully encourages a person to walk into an unseen but open and deadly trap. It is the height of irresponsibility, which will bring judgment on both the one committing the behavior and on the one permitting or tolerating the behavior. Toleration is a lose/ lose proposition for the church as well as for civil society. Toleration brings all manner of evil and eventually judgment on both those who tolerate and those being tolerated.

The Consequence of Tolerance

What is the inevitable consequence for people who embrace tolerance? This paragraph is written for the edification of those with conservative leanings, i.e., those who believe in a personal God and who embrace the constitutional requisites for small government and personal freedom with responsibility. The ultimate consequence of a tolerant spirit or attitude is the compromise of conscience. This is not a minor consequence; it is critical that we understand what the end game of tolerance looks like.

The consequence of a tolerant attitude is a “defiled” or “seared” as opposed to a “good” conscience, i.e., a conscience without moral restraint, an evil conscience. People with a totally fallen or evil conscience do what they please and call it good so that shame and guilt are extinguished or at least considered passé. This consequence is repeated over and over again through world history and even among the nation of Israel itself. After the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, the book of Judges reveals the overall mindset that came over the victorious people: “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). The result: divine morality was diminished by a tolerance of the other gods around them, which led to a humanly imagined morality that led to chaos and eventual judgment. Maintaining a good conscience, a healthy mind and soul is critical to developing a sound, meaningful, and lasting faith (1 Timothy 1:3-11). Tolerance will corrupt your conscience, which naturally defiles your faith.

Conclusion

The problem with secular tolerance is that it is invoked to promote licentiousness of every kind while, at the same time, doing away with every hint of divine morality, and consequentially, a good conscience (i.e., shame, guilt, and fear, which are necessary emotions that warn a person of an impending consequence or judgment, are eliminated in the name of “acceptance”, which is merely another word for tolerance). If you notice a person unknowingly walking toward a harmful impediment, you have a moral obligation to warn the person of the danger.  Tolerance sees the impediment and intentionally turns a blind eye to it for fear that warning the person will offend him or her in some way. In so doing, one becomes complicit in that person’s calamity. Sadly and eventually, people become so tolerant that they no longer see impediments for themselves or others. Might I theorize that the toleration presently being asserted regarding opening the doors to legalizing cannabis will result in personal, financial, and emotional costs unimaginable to this present generation? Time will tell! However, cannabis used as a medical treatment (so long as it is not abused or over-prescribed) should not create an ethical contradiction for Christians.

Toleration is Actually a Weapon

It is important to understand that tolerance is the weapon used by intolerant progressives, liberals, and socialists to silence the majority of people who reject an amoral and immoral or moral-free society. In their view, conservatives must be made to feel bad about their “regressive and archaic” virtues and values; therefore, the “tolerant police” call discernment, discrimination; they call black, white and good, evil. When human beings do not honor God by choosing to worship or honor the creation over its Creator, the Lord gives . . . them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind (i.e., a defile conscience), to do those things, which are not proper (not moral), being filled with all unrighteousness. Wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful (i.e., intolerant of all things good); and, although they know the ordinance of God (i.e., His will), that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:26-32). A defiled conscience embraces the vice of tolerance to promote and do all manner of immoral behavior. The apostle Paul informed his protégée, Timothy, that the end times would be filled with vice and immorality (2 Timothy 3:1-7). Note that the solution given to avoid a path to civil collapse is to have a knowledge of the Scriptures, which are inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We don’t need tolerance in this world, we need God and His patience. Without Him, every generation has fallen prey to evil, which daily threatens to overwhelm all that is good for human well-being and civility.

Words to Remember

“If love and peace in the global community are to flourish; if unity is to be achieved between diverse peoples, we must be tolerant of values and behaviors that are different from our own, but equally valid.” These are the words that underpin the plan to achieve, in our lifetimes, a non-offensive utopia of global love and unity; they describe the pathway that will be the end of all wars because, after all, people are basically good; they simply need to be left to their own aspirations. We are encouraged to believe that the way to unleash humanity’s basic goodness and produce unity is to affirm diversity (the absence of offending others with the truth that is universal) through mandated tolerance. The problem with this false narrative is that it ignores any standard or universal principles (or truth) around which peoples can truly unite, survive and succeed. In the world of the liberal progressive, there is no evil, error or sin other than intolerance, and it pretends that or acts as if there are no consequences to “bad” behavior. In fact, the only “bad” behavior is bringing God into the discussion. Simply stated, “Tolerance is intolerance of God.” It rejects the existence of an intelligent and all-knowing Creator who offers genuine and eternal hope through loving absolutes and invaluable moral standards. Devote yourself to knowing and loving the Lord of creation and reason or you might find yourself falling prey to a tolerant spirit that is thoroughly numb to reason. Be patient as you pray, study the Scriptures, and work for the welfare of your family and community; God gives insight to those who seek it.  Be intolerant of doing anything less.

WE’VE TALKED MUCH ABOUT THE CONSCIENCE IN THE PAST FEW ARTICLES. NEXT WEEK I WILL BEGIN POSTING AN ARTICLE ON THE TOPIC.

[1] Divine Initiated Morality®Introduction of Tolerance®Human Initiated Morality®Chaos®Judgment. My understanding of human history leads me to believe that this period of judgment comes directly from humankind, as permitted by God, or it is brought upon humankind directly by God in order to bring an end to the chaos and start again. Unless God intervenes in human affairs, humanity cannot survive its own natural path to self-destruction.

[2] FYI. Judeo Christian morality is NOT left or right in the world of politics; it is simply right. Communism, Socialism, and Fascism exist on the extreme left and truth is on the right. Any move away from divine morality is a movement away from truth and is, therefore, horribly destructive.

[3] NOTE: People cannot be conservative or conservatism cannot exist apart from a Judeo-Christian moral perspective.

 

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I am a published author, co-author and editor of 13 books, written numerous articles, taught online at Liberty University and Grace College (Indiana), and appeared on numerous radio and TV programs. I am a theologian, bioethicist and retired veteran.

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