Okay, maybe it wasn't all that simple. Regardless of how much more tolerant we are - generally speaking - than a number of other nations that come to mind, I can see where we might come across as intolerant. One guy even came up with a visual way to make fun of our appearance of intolerance:
For the record, I don't know that God cares much about most signs, but I do think he hates "hate" signs.
Today's post is my answer to Matt's question about whether or not I think we're intolerant, with a just couple of minor changes in an effort to tweak it.
As for your question, I’m not going to give an answer to Americans in general, but to those of us who are followers of Christ.
Intolerance is a perception, and I think perception, to borrow a phrase, is in the eye of the beholder, not the accused. To be fair, the accusation of intolerance will make anyone of any faith or political persuasion defensive. That’s a natural human reaction. But with the power of the Holy Spirit working within Christ’s followers, we should be able to rise above that human need to defend ourselves. We should be able to remember that there is a higher purpose to our lives than arguing with people who call us intolerant.
The Great Commission included teaching the world to obey everything Jesus commanded. But before teaching, we were to go into the world to make disciples and to baptize.
We often get the cart before the horse, trying to teach people before making disciples and then we scream and yell because they don't want to be taught. And in this process we forget that teaching the world to obey what Jesus commanded starts with what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments, to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors.
Our neighbors don’t feel the love when we’re coming across as angry, so they call us intolerant, and then we get into the cycle of the human nature defending ourselves against a charge that we find offensive.
Once we get into that cycle, we forget that Jesus didn't tell us to go into the world to make everyone just like us. He told us to go into the world to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He told us to lead people to Him. He even gave us the formula: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we could just remember those two commandments, we might be able to cut down considerably on the accusations of intolerance, and much more importantly, people would be much more likely to see Jesus in us.
Until next time,
Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:18-20