SHOULD WE BE TOLERANT_________________________________­


What is tolerance? Tolerance is defined as the capacity for or practice of recognizing and respecting the opinions, practices, or behavior of others, (The American Heritage Dictionary). In other words, if you have the ability to respect other’s opinions, practices or habits, and behavior, you are by definition tolerant. However, today, in our society, adding the word ‘sin’ to the definition, means not only tolerating opinions about politics, for example, but their opinions on what is sin or what is not sin. So we should not only accept different behavior but sinful behavior as well. Is this valid? Who gets to determine what is right and what is wrong?


Make some observations from these passages

1) Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘let me take the speck out of your eye’ and behold the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5).

2) Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me (John 14:6); Love…does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth

(1 Corinthians 13:6).

3) And whoever does not receive you nor heed your words as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city (Matthew 10:14-15). Woe to you, Chorazin (a city)! Woe to you, Bethsaida (a city). For it the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented log ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you (Matthew 11:20-24).

4) Speaking to the church in the city of Thyatira, Jesus says, ‘I know your deeds and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late 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 bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things offered to idols, and I gave her time to repent and she does not want to…behold I will cast her upon a bed of sickness and I will kill her children…I am He who searches the minds and hearts… (Revelation 2:19-20).

5) These are the things which you should do; speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and…let none of you devise evil I your heart…and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate, declares the Lord (Zechariah 8:16-17).

6) My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).


What interpretations and applications can you make from tolerance in these verses?


1. What does the responsibility of our making judgments tell us about being tolerant?

Interpretation of Matthew 7:1-5

The point of the passage is to not judge others by your own self-made beliefs and standards. God says that if you do that, then He will judge you by that standard. Instead, when evaluating or criticizing anyone for anything, use discerning judgment that is able to separate between truth and false, reality and a sham, sinful and righteous. Remember to honestly evaluate your own sin first before addressing that of another. Jesus expects us to make judgments not to be tolerant of sinful behavior.



When you make judgments of others, they must be based on discernment not self-made standards which God will use to base your judgment upon.


Therefore I should stop lying to my parents before confronting a friend who has lied about me.






2. How does Jesus as the only truth and rejoicing in truth relate to tolerance?

Interpretation of John 14:6; 1 Cor 13:6

Jesus makes the claim that He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. The apostles did not start the church to proclaim another way to God or another way or a newer way, but the absolutely only way. There are no alternatives. Jesus is narrow-minded and intolerant about this. So we must rejoice in the truth—that is, the way things actually are as the Bible defines these—never tolerate anything else.


The only way to God the Father is by means of the truth and life in Jesus. Salvation can only be obtained this way.


Therefore, I should not attend a mosque or Temple or Synagogue because these religions do not believe Jesus is the way or the only way of access to God the Father.


3. What is not tolerated and to what degree will it not be tolerated?

Interpretation of Matthew 10:14-15; 11:20-24

Preach the gospel first to those who want it most. Do not spend time on those who resist and oppose and reject it. Whoever does not receive, withdraw yourself from them and turn your efforts toward others. If they are firmly against the gospel and show contempt, then they will be judged for what they have known and then rejected.


We are not responsible for how people will respond to the gospel, but let them know they may not get another opportunity, or there is a limit to the opportunities they will get. The more revelation you get, the more responsibility, and more judgment you get.


Therefore, I should share the gospel with unbelievers while letting them know that the opportunity to hear and believe may be limited if they refuse to accept it.


4. What did tolerance do for the church in the city of Thyatira?

Interpretation of Revelation 2:19-20

Jesus knows their deeds, their love, faith, service, perseverance, and that their deeds of late are greater than the first. But they tolerate the woman jezebel, a woman who teaches and leads people into immorality or eating meat offered to idols. Jesus gave her time to repent but she would not do it. So Jesus judges her by throwing her and her followers on a bed of sickness. Only God can judge motives and intents of the heart.


Jesus knows, evaluates, and judges all of your activities, including what groups you support and condemn. When you realize that a group of believers you are associated with are not keeping Christ’s standard, repent and change your mind and lifestyle or God will judge your sin.


Therefore, I should not be associated with groups claiming to be Christian that accommodate yoga, chanting, martial arts, Mary, or man as God, because God will judge this.  


5. What is it that God does not tolerate?

Interpretation of Zechariah 8:16-17

There are things God wants us to do, and things he hates. One thing God wants us to do is judge with truth. So all of our judgments must be based in and based on truth—the way things actually are—not things we have devised in our hearts but have no basis in truth.


All of our dealings with one another should be centered in truth—the way things actually are. If I have a problem with people, I should deal with it truthfully as I attempt to resolve it.


Therefore, I should deal with problems in my relationship with my coach without deception, rebelling, or demanding my way but in such a way that God is pleased—that is according to His standard.


6. How does intolerance help us get someone back on the correct path?

Interpretation of James 5:19-20

If someone is wandering from the truth—like planets wandering compared to stars that don’t—and you turn them from their error, you will deliver him from death and protect him from further consequences due to that sin and keep him from destroying himself and losing rewards in heaven.


We have a responsibility to confront wandering Christians who are sinning so that they will not lose their lives and live with the death-dealing consequences of sin that is being produced by their sinfully wayward life.


Therefore, I should confront my Christian friend about sleeping with his girlfriend so that he will repent and spare both of them from consequences like pregnancy, disease, shame, or God’s discipline leading possibly to death and loss of reward.


To Summarize:


1) Judgment with discernment must be used with when deciding confront  others.

2) Jesus provides the standard upon which we determine what is true and what is false.

3) Those who have heard the gospel and reject it will face greater judgment.

4) Sin should never be tolerated—especially practices and beliefs associated with world            religions and cults.

5) Tolerance devises it’s own standard instead of the truth to deal with relational issues. 6) Intolerance of sin and it’s consequences motivates us to confront and help correct another’s wayward life.