Is Tolerance In The Bible?

One of my readers asked me that question after the “Intolerant Tolerance” post last week.

I didn’t find teaching on tolerance in God’s word. What I did find was lots of evidence of God’s “long-suffering” towards His people. The Bible attributes that characteristic to Jesus in the New Testament. To me, that’s been God’s mantra since Adam and Eve. Throughout the Old Testament we read how much God was “long-suffering” with His stubborn, disobedient people.

“The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” Numbers 14:8

Jonathan Sartati said, in that tolerance post, “While our society preaches tolerance, the love of diversity, it actually advocates indifference, since by definition none of the various views being tolerated can be regarded as true.”

Jesus taught in Matthew,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

As I study that Scripture I believe it tells us the foundation for everything we say or do.  In scripture, I believe, Jesus teaches us how to respond to all those who think differently or believe differently from us. We’re to show them love. The love of Jesus. There’s room in our love, I believe, for 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Max Lucado wrote this about how we’re to respond to those who might think or believe differently from us:

“I choose gentleness… Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. ”

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