In today’s society we find evil creeping into every area of life. We turn the television off because we’re tired of seeing stores burned down because of protests. But what is the reason behind all this hate talk that has become a twisted view of tolerance?
It’s difficult when people come to our church, sit in the pews and they are living lives of sin. They don’t care if we know or not. They continue in their disobedience to God and his Word. How do we help them? How did Jesus set them free?
People all around us have their own ideologies about faith, life and tolerance. Some would say you simply tolerate their sin while others say you should call them out. Today, tolerance is a big issue. It’s on every major news station. It’s in most TV shows. It’s in a lot of books. The question is, do we tolerate others’ beliefs/lifestyles, or do we not?
On one hand if you tolerate, those in the Christian circles call you a hypocrite, but in other circles you’re called a progressive. But if you don’t tolerate, you’re praised in some circles and taken to court in others. I’ll say this: we don’t get closer to God by passing judgement on others.
In John 8 the Pharisees brought Jesus a woman they caught in the act of adultery. Jesus could have let them stone her to death. Because in reality, they were not tolerant of her lifestyle. Rather, Jesus did something different. He upped the stakes. He said, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
Here are six steps to love people without tolerance.
1. Don’t Overlook Sin: This is one area Jesus didn’t skimp on. Jesus asked the woman at the well to bring her husband. But in reality she had none but had five husbands. Jesus didn’t condone her sin, but he called her out. Same for the woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t condone her sin but called her out and said to go and sin no more.
2. Jesus loved. When they brought her before Jesus, they intended to catch Jesus off guard in his leadership. He wanted to see her rescued through love not hatred. Jesus understood that love is what draws people to himself.
3. He called out the Pharisees. Because they wanted to catch Jesus off guard they ignored the fact they were living in a false ideology. It wasn’t that they were law abiding citizens. They weren’t and Jesus knew that. He said, “He who has no sin casts the first stone.”
4. It’s about mercy: Jesus understood that if he was to simply be intolerant of her as an individual, she never would have seen his love. But because she saw his love, she then found forgiveness.
5. It’s about setting the captives free. Jesus’ ministry was about loving people out of their sin. It wasn’t about making political statements. it was simply saying, ”Go and sin no more.”
6. Jesus raised the stakes. He would have been justified in condemning her to death, but because he loves the sinner and hates the sin, he gives her the chance to repent. The law stated that she should have been killed. Jesus made the law even harder to follow by asking her to no longer sin. Jesus chose to love the person and not tolerate their sin.
We must come to the place where we lift the other person up to the Lord and help set them free from sin. Jesus is calling us to love while not overlooking sin. He’s calling us to not be like the Pharisees and pass judgement but rather he’s calling us to allow him to be the one to set the captives free. Our job is to point the way to love while not watering down sin.