Sometimes I get tired of being forced into playing by rules of the world that creators fail to follow themselves. I’m not a fan of the rule of tolerance, because inevitably people like me are the only ones who are actually required to follow that rule. It is acceptable and considered still tolerant to mock my faith as outdated, mythological, for the incompetent, evil, foolish, unfit for society, etc. However, it is intolerant when I share anything about my personal faith even when it is done to give clarification on people who use a strawman argument to make their lives a little easier.
It just bothers me to no end sometimes. Tebow has been facing a lot of these frustrations after removing a speaking engagement at a church that was hit for being anti-gay. Now my old school, and soon to be once again current school, is facing a lot of those same statements with Tebow coming there to speak. People say all the students there are homophobic. They apparently have no respect for women because they don’t agree with abortion. The world is allowed to say these things, but the minute I were to say abortion is wrong I would become labeled with being intolerant. The moment I say something about my faith that sounds exclusive I am being labeled intolerant because I am not openly welcoming anyone of any belief. We get called intolerant by the same people who will shun us until we leave our faith, or pretend as though it never exists. Religion is only for the household. Your beliefs can only be important in your home. Everyone else is allowed to hold to their beliefs no matter where they are in the world, but it is Christianity that is forced to stay inside their homes and churches. We are the ones who must be open minded and listen to opposing views quietly and obediently. Anything less is intolerant. I’m tired of following those rules.
Does this rant sound familiar? Have you been making this rant in your own head on occasion? It’s easy to develop a foul mood towards the world. It would be so easy to just blow up out the ultimate example of hypocrisy that this world throws at us and respond to them with the full level of intolerance that they show us. It would be easy to respond in anger, and seeking revenge. We wish to be the swift bringers of karma. We treat the world like a war zone and all non-believers are the enemy. I just want to share a few things that I force to think about when I come close to giving into my anger at the world’s hypocrisy on the rule of tolerance.
1. “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they are doing.” This is an incredibly powerful statement made by Christ during his crucifixion. Even in death Christ is portraying a spirit of forgiveness. I have to admit that I do not possess the forgiving heart that I should towards others who slander me, and mock me for my faith. Frankly, the treatment I receive is nothing next to what Christ faced. We need to remember that while everyone is personally responsible for their sin, they are hopelessly lost without a savior, and are incapable of breaking out of a slavery to sin.
2. They are not the enemy. We say this all the time. Sinners are not the enemy. Do we believe this to be true though? Do we prove it when we lose all patience with sinners? Do we prove it when we respond with mockery and sarcasm? Do we prove it when we respond in a spirit that is clearly going to shut them down from hearing anything we actually have to say? Sinners aren’t the enemy; they are the captives in the war zone. This is the one area where I will actually say the true enemy is a blatant coward. They have no shame in hiding behind their hostages.
3. Jesus Christ is a stumbling block. It’s true. The gospel is the only thing that matters, but it is offensive. It tells us we have not lived our lives to the standard that is required of us. It tells us there is an absolute truth, and we have lived against it. The gospel itself is exclusive. We don’t need to add exclusivity to the gospel. We don’t need to label fellow Christians on how much they follow the “true gospel” based off how conservative they are. We need to stop adding extra requirements to the gospel that simply don’t exist.
4. Salvation is a journey. At least I know my story was one. In a way it still is a journey. Now the chapters are simply just what I am becoming after salvation. We actually get to play a part in the salvation journey of others. I think this is one of the coolest gifts God has given us.
5. We aren’t out to save the world. We simply aren’t capable of it. We are simply making ourselves available to show the world what it is missing. I hope that when I die people won’t remember me for a list of rules I followed or a set of ideas I disagreed with. I want to be known as a guy who loved people because He loved God. Will that legacy ruffle some feathers? If done properly it will have to, but it is also the legacy that I am confident will have the greatest impact for good.
Don’t respond in wrath during these moments of frustration. Don’t fire off a facebook post you will regret. Don’t try and build up some army with specific political and doctrinal views. Show the world what it is really missing. Show them what a follower of Christ does, and not just what they don’t do.