“Tolerance” is a popular word these days. According to the secular world we Christians ought to be tolerating just about everything. Like it or not, tolerate it. Well I disagree.
Last night we had a discussion over this topic and I brought up the cake maker in Colorado and the photographer in Arizona who have been told by their states that they have to offer their services to the public without discrimination. If homosexuals enter their businesses, they cannot refuse service on the basis of a conscientious objection. The cake baker said he’s holding his ground and won’t conform even though the Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission has said he broke the law. From the Blaze, “I’m not going to make cakes for same-sex weddings,” he said. “That violates my First Amendment speech … and my duty as a Christian abiding by my savior.”1
As a Christian, you have to make these judgments about what is tolerable and what is not. Regardless of what some “civil rights commission” says, do you have to serve them and thereby defile your conscience? Absolutely not! Go to jail first and gladly do so bearing the name of Christ (1 Pt 4:16,17). Everyone seems to be comfortable nowadays with the idea of having a homosexual on every T.V. show and a lesbian couple in every house next door. But lets push the envelope a little and suppose the local nudist colony comes into your photography and catering business and says they want you to prepare the confections and do the photography for their next annual nude gala; do you have to do that because the state “civil rights commission” says you must? I hope you know the answer to that.
Tolerance is defined in the technical sense as the allowable amount of variance from a defined norm, especially in machined parts. A part, like a bolt or a shaft, can be machined to a certain “tolerance” so that it will function with other component parts. Should the measurements fall outside of the allowable tolerance, too small or too large, it won’t work and will be unacceptable.
In Revelation 2:20, Jesus says he has this against the church at Thyatira that they “tolerate” the woman Jezebel. She is someone in the church there which is assigned by Jesus the iconic name of one of the most evil Old Testament characters. And she’s leading and teaching some in the church to engage in idolatry and fornications. Jesus is letting Thyatira know they must repent of this and stop tolerating this sin in their midst.
What Christians ought to tolerate is no more than God will tolerate. If God does not tolerate the practice of sin in the church, neither should we. But this tolerance goes beyond activities in the church. This applies to our lives at home, in the work place, and in our recreational choices. We have to make choices as to what we will and what we will not tolerate.
Parents, do you tolerate your children talking back to you? Parents, do you tolerate your children sitting and watching television shows that will defile the little minds? Do you tolerate your children being indoctrinated to accept the values and norms of the godless and secular world rather than the values and norms of God? What you and I tolerate should be no more than what God would tolerate.
As we live in this world and associate with people in the world, we may allow ourselves to justify doing more and more. When the Lord Jesus comes in the clouds, are you going to be comfortable saying, “OK, let’s get a group photo. Let’s have the happy Lesbian couple move closer together. Ok now all of the entourage, we need a picture with only your leather and lace outfits.” I want to suggest that the money you made just may be costing your place in heaven.
Tolerance requires judgment. The judgment may be that the machine part must be within .005 of an inch variance. And our choices as Christians must consider what is appropriate and what is inappropriate conduct as a Christian. Tolerate no more than God would tolerate.