It's been said that the things we allow continually are ultimately a silent statement of acceptance.
Is it true that what we tolerate we accept?
It seems today that we live in a society where if you don't tolerate something that goes against your beliefs or convictions you get tagged as a person or group that has hate or a lack of compassion. I believe there's a difference between compassion and conviction when it comes to tolerance. The toleration of one can also be very condemning to another so how can we have tolerance and still have compassion? Can't we love people no matter their lifestyle or stance on a topic or political belief? I've heard it said many times that we should "hate the sin but love the sinner" but where is the line of acceptance when it comes to tolerance?
If I don't agree with bullies, dishonest sales people or domestic violence do I have to accept them and make them a part of my life or inner circle to show love or tolerance? I believe if you don't take a stance somewhere you're going to end up nowhere. Everyone who's accomplished great things or left a great legacy has had to take a stand on their beliefs, whether friends, family or mainstream media agreed. Standing for what's right doesn't always win the popular vote but life isn't really a popularity race is it? I believe it's a journey to fulfill God's purpose and His Word is our plumb line for life. If we have a personal conviction on a matter it is our choice to stand strong and hopefully somewhere sometime it will end up being a benefit to others. We should always look for ways to better people. Not out of condemnation but out of compassion for the one who may not have the same conviction as you. We all have things that are good for us that we either ignore or choose to not take part of. Ultimately, most things that are good for us don't feel or taste good. I know medicine doesn't always taste good and exercise can be tiring but we know the end result is better health.
I think when personal convictions become another's condemnation we lose sight of Jesus' example. I often wonder if the compassion that Jesus talked about when He spoke to the woman who was caught in adultery is truly being shown? When Jesus asked her who's left from the many that brought you here to condemn you, She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” -John 8:11 NKJV
I ask myself this question on a regular basis, "what legacy am I leaving when I make this decision? How will this decision ultimately reach more people for Jesus"? It might not be popular to stand for what you believe in but in the end what legacy will be said of you? Will you stand for what's right or just try to win the popular vote?
On the flip side, my convictions on certain lifestyles and unethical choices whether the ones making those choices are Christians or not can't dictate my approval and shouldn't condemn me because I don't agree with their choices. I believe everyone is responsible for the choices they make and if I don't go along with everyone's choice doesn't make me a hater or intolerant but it proves their point all the more, that we all have a choice to live our convictions and stand behind the results out of responsibility to those beliefs.
Three questions today -
1. What are you tolerating where you know you should stand strong on your convictions?
2. Where are you not showing compassion but condemnation?
3. What are you doing to make a great legacy for those following you?
Written by Pastor Ron Munizzi
Ron Munizzi is the lead pastor of Liv It Church in Deland, Florida. His wife Tracy and their three children are all active in ministry. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org