Webster’s Definition of TOLERANCE
1: capacity to endure pain or hardship :endurance, fortitude, stamina2a: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own b: the act of allowing something :toleration3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially: the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece4a (1): the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure
As parents, grandparents; neighbors, employees; voters, bystanders … we have taken tolerance as an excuse to become apathetic. We are tired, we do not want conflict, we just want to live and let live. We do not want to be bothered. We all have a reason for allowing things to just be. With each year we just throw up our hands, turn away, give up and sit. Hoping it all will go away, or “IT” will get better on it’s own. “IT” can be many things in our lives. People, situations, habits = “IT”. Our attitude towards “IT” did not happen over night. With each generation of neglect, apathy, or however you want to label the response to “IT”, we strengthen “IT” until it is insurmountable to overcome and take back control. We do not like labels, society does not tolerate labels. So we do not call “IT” by what it is. The truth is, “IT” was, and always will be SIN. When we first tolerate SIN and turn away, we strengthen SIN and begin to be tolerant. Slowly we quit naming it SIN and create “IT”. Unnamed and harmless.
I hope my ramblings are not confusing. To best sum up my thoughts I offer this quote:
“One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin. ‘If we walk in the light as He is in the light. . .’ (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person.” ~ Oswald Chambers
I think Chambers sums it all up nicely. So what do we do? We acknowledge we turned away. We stop denying and return to the truth. As Chambers says, only the Holy Spirit can do this work in our lives. Yes, we pray but we pray specifically for the Holy Spirit to renew us, to open our hearts to the Word we read each day. We ask for discernment and we ask:
Psalm 51:10 (ESV) “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Philippians 4:8 (NASB) “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
At the risk of repeating myself, JUST DO IT (previous blog). Stop and call “IT” by the right name, SIN. Tolerance by Bible standards = love thy neighbor as they self. You can love someone and not love what they do. We should not let anything that the Bible calls SIN become “IT” simply because we have become desensitized by the world and we do not want to deal with “IT”.