The world hates the intolerant. The world also hates Jesus. I think there is something we should understand with the way we use our words. People will often get caught up in their “wokeness” and virtue signaling to the point they complete set aside rational thinking and truth in the hopes of furthering their opinion or the opinion they feel the world wants them to have.
There’s a major conflict between tolerance and compassion. Tolerance wants to allow lies and opinion whereas compassion looks to love beyond lies and opinion. In order to break this down and understand the point and importance, we first have to look at the definitions of tolerance and compassion to fully grasp the difference.
Tolerance has two equally important definitions that are often misunderstood. First, tolerance can be used to describe the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. While on the surface, this appears to be empathy and compassion, but it’s most assuredly not. Tolerance is the counterfeit of compassion. We can clearly see that in the second part of the definition which describes tolerance as the capacity to endure continued subjection to something, especially a drug, transplant, antigen, or environmental conditions, without adverse reaction.
You see, tolerance starts out with the appearance of compassion in that it describes the willingness to tolerate, allow, opinions and behavior that one doesn’t agree with. Let’s look at the word tolerate and define that to get a better understanding of where this becomes cloudy.
Tolerate is defined as to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference. To accept or endure someone or something unpleasant or disliked with forbearance. To tolerate is to be capable of continued subjection to a drug, toxin, or environmental condition without adverse reaction.
Clearly, this is the work of Satan. He wants us to become tolerant of sin. To be subjected to the toxin and environmental condition of sin without adverse reaction. Satan wants us to allow the existence and occurrence, or practice, of something God doesn’t like or agree with, without interference.
We cannot tolerate or have tolerance for sin. What we can and should do, is have compassion. Let’s examine the word compassion. Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. That is to say to be compassionate is to have sympathy and concern for others. Jesus demonstrated compassion, not tolerance. He commanded us to love, which is to show compassion, not to tolerate.
The world hates Jesus but loves sin. Satan wants to counterfeit tolerance as compassion. We are watching this unfold all around us through protests and the woke crowd trying to get us to believe that there is a problem with being intolerant.
God leads us with compassion and Jesus demonstrated true compassion. As we read in 2 Corinthians we can understand how we are to demonstrate compassion.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Where a break down comes is when we try to substitute tolerance for compassion. Many will throw out the “cast the first stone” verse when they feel judgement because they want to judge, but hate being judged. The thing is, God already laid out the law. Jesus never nullified the law, He fulfilled it. The law still exists and we are still subject to it, however we are bought and paid for. Our debt is clear. If all we had was the law and no Jesus, there would be no solution to erase the debt of sin. We know the wages of sin is death, but Jesus is the gift of life.
The gift of Jesus doesn’t eliminate or remove the law, it merely gives us a path to grace by faith in Jesus to be redeemed. The problem with sin is it separates us from God. God cannot be found in sin, He is Holy and can only be found amongst the holy. Through the resurrection of Jesus, we are given the cleansing blood of Jesus which in turn removes our blemishes.
The issue with tolerance is that it removes the need for compassion and the love of Jesus. If God issued tolerance, then he would simply tolerate sin and there wouldn’t be a need for Jesus, but God would no longer be holy. That can’t be, God is God. He is holy. God is Love. Love is compassion.
So then, what does that mean in regards to sin? Well, Jesus pays the debt for you and I because we can’t pay it ourselves. The debt of sin is too great. So great in fact, that the cost is more than our life on earth, but it is an eternal cost that never goes away without the blood of the Lamb of God.
Let us revisit the woman and the stone casting. We see that the religious leadership brings a woman before Jesus and tells Him she has been found guilty of adultery. The remind Jesus that the law says she should be stoned. Jesus agrees, the law does say that. It’s also worth noting, Jesus never denied she had sinned. However, Jesus doesn’t get caught in the trap. Instead, he presents the case that whoever has not committed a sin should be the one to throw the first stone. Eventually they all leave and Jesus asks the woman who was left to condemn her. When she says no one, Jesus tells her He won’t condemn her either.
The important pieces of this story are first, we can recognize Jesus was without sin and the woman knew it. How do we know? Because Jesus told her if they didn’t condemn her after He made that comment, He wouldn’t either even though He could. There is power and depth in that understanding. Even though Jesus was without sin and He had challenged the other men to have whoever was without sin to cast the first stone, He was without sin and said He wouldn’t condemn her either. The second part is the when Jesus sent her away, He said go and sin no more.
This tells us Jesus didn’t deny her sin, neither did she. Everyone knew she was guilty, but Jesus demonstrated compassion and told her to go. The second part is, the repentance piece. Jesus told her to go AND sin no more. He didn’t just say go. That indicates when we are found in sin, we should seek Jesus and His mercy seat first. Then, we should go and sin no more.
This is where compassion and tolerance really start to run away from each other in opposite directions. Compassion is showing mercy and grace in the moment for the instance of suffering. Tolerance wants to allow the continued suffering and sin. There is no repentance in tolerance.
If a man steals from you, you may demonstrate grace and mercy- compassion the first time. Maybe even the second time. However, if he continues to steal from you, the compassion will run out. Then you have to decide if it’s going to be tolerance or intolerance. Are you going to allow it or not.
Don’t let the devil rob you of the truth. Don’t let society condemn your lack of tolerance to sin as something to be a burden. Compassion is a gift we are given and we should give. Tolerance is no where in the grace of God. God will never tolerate sin, he will only demonstrate compassion through His mercy and grace and for that, we must thank Jesus.
By William Henry