I was once asked, “What do you think is the key to connecting with others for the sake of the Gospel?” As I thought to myself for a moment (I’ve learned through years of marriage to think before I speak :) ), I replied, “love and tolerance.” I’ll explain my reasoning.
As a follower and advocate of Christ, I find myself constantly being put into situations that might seem offensive to others. What do I mean by that? I was taught as a young Christian that those against Christ need to be avoided. I find that instruction problematic. Although, there is some wisdom in seeking likeminded individuals, it would be hard to carry out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) with those who have claimed to have already made a decision for Christ (making disciples means sharing the gospel with those who haven’t heard it before). Instead, we need to draw on Christ’s strength in order to show tolerance to others. What kind of tolerance? Tolerance of others’ actions, words, motivations, and conversations. The lost don’t know Jesus. And if they don’t know Jesus, how do they know that their comments or actions might be offensive?
I frequently encounter television programs, and other forms of media, that depict Jesus negatively; this is how society often views Jesus. And if others are getting their information from media, why would I not expect to encounter this negative view? But how can I have a conversation with someone, or, interject my thoughts, if I don’t tolerate or understand their influences?
The motivation of tolerance is love. Jesus instructs us to love others- we know this is a clear instruction (Matt 22:35-40). And if love is unconditional, as shown by Jesus to us, and He is tolerant of our constant sinning (Romans 3:23), then we should mimic that love and tolerance towards others. Make sense?
As followers of Christ, I think we are often too easily offended. If something doesn’t coincide with our belief’s, of we become offended, we dismiss it and move on. By doing this, we abandon potential opportunities to share Jesus. Jesus always combated heresy with truth. How can we speak truth if we are never in situations that contradict truth?
I encourage you to be tolerant. Show love. Speak the truth. Share the Gospel!
From time to time, Rev D posts random thoughts about life as a Pastor and Servant of Christ. He has a unique perspective. Blog entries are posted randomly.