I’ve found myself a part of a situation that will have to remain rather vague in order not to dishonor anyone involved, but I think I can cover the thing by saying simply that,
people don’t like change.
And I am finding myself getting frustrated. And me being the big-mouth that I am have expressed some of that frustration. And the responses that I have gotten from the few folks I have blessed with my opinion (ha!) is that we have to be filled with grace when it comes to tearing down “traditions” to make room for “freedom” and that I must have patience during the process. And that to me is exasperating because I’m trying very hard to be full of grace but I am sooooo ready to see some changes in this area.
And so this “situation” has brought to mind a question. Not necessarily about this situation but just a question in general…
Is there a difference between grace and tolerance?
Because I think there is.
So then, tolerance means that although I don’t see things the way you do, I still allow you to continue on doing what you are doing without objecting to it in order to be fair. And grace is showing love, mercy, kindness, etc. to others regardless of their circumstances as a reflection of what God does for us.
And this brings to mind another question…
Can you be tolerant of someone’s behavior even though it contradicts what you know to be Truth and still be full of grace toward them?
And the answer to that one in my heart is a resounding
The very definition of tolerance implies that permission has been given to do a certain thing or think a certain way…in essence, I am giving my okay for something that I know is completely wrong, or something that has someone in bondage, or something that goes against what I know is God’s truth and to me that is the opposite of grace.
We can give grace. We can love in the midst of all kinds of mistakes. We can give second and third and fourth chances. But if we are also giving permission to allow a willful separation from the fullness of who we are created by God to be, then in reality all we are giving is a lie.
See here’s the basis for my thought process in all this…God’s grace for me is unending. His love for me is deeper and wider and longer and farther than I can ever grasp or imagine. There is no blessing that He doesn’t desire to give me. There is no end to His loving kindness towards me. HOWEVER, His tolerance for sin is zero. And the last thing He wants to do is to allow me to continue to behave or think in a way that will cause a separation between He and I. And the Holy Spirit will continue to move and shake me until I remove myself from that behavior or way of thinking because (and I know this is all Christian-y cliché) God loves me way to much to leave me the way He found me. He’s making me like Christ…or He’s trying to anyway if I’ll get off my stubborn high horse and let Him.
The world has lied to us. The world has told us that in order for us to love like Jesus loved, we have to be tolerant of people’s stuff. No sir we don’t. We can’t be. The Church must operate in love, but it cannot continue to give people permission to act however they want.
But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
2 Peter 2:9
The Body of Christ has been called to be holy…to be set apart. We gotta act like it.
And we’ve got to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His wonderful light.
Stir us up, Lord. Don’t let us stay the same. Change us from the inside out.
Make us more like Jesus.