I am so so so tired of hearing the hate excusing rhetoric that seems to be the American Christian standard. Don’t think so? Read through just the beginnings of the the blogs marked under Christianity for a day. It’s quite depressing. Today I read about how Jews are the “Curse of the Earth,” how tolerance for Islam is really hatred for Christianity, and the people sitting on that “couch of tolerance” obviously have no idea what repentance is. I have read the subliminal hate messages categorized under Christianity. How being politically correct distances you from the “us side” and puts you on the “them side”. How Christ was not worried about offending people and so we shouldn’t be either. I want to make a couple things clear.
1. We are not called to be hated by the world.
Perhaps you would suggest John 15:18-19 to disprove this point. But I would suggest that we do a little context thinking.
First of all, who do we consider “the world?” As modern day Christians we tend to refer to non-Christians as the world. Now, let’s look at the example of Christ rather than an isolated Bible verse. Who hated Christ? Who did Christ offend? Who paid for Christ to be delivered to Sanhedrin? Who lobbied for Christ to be crucified? That’s right, the ancient day Church and those in charge of it ie. priests, Pharisees and Sadducees.Christ turned the tables in the Church. He lectured the priests. He skillfully answered the pointed questions of the Pharisees. He saved his harshest criticism for the Church, and showed them the least amount of tolerance for their sins. Perhaps we should follow this example.
Who did Christ hang out with? Defend? Break bread with? Love and tolerate? That’s right, the “world.” Christ was chilling with the tax collectors and drinking (water) with Samaritans. Christ was on the side of the “world.” He was out there feeding the poor and needy and he never asked them how long they had been in need. He was gentle and caring while he helped them realize their sins. Perhaps we should follow this example.
2. Tolerance is not an evil.
Tolerate: To allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
I’ve recently been reading a resurgence of this idea that tolerance of Islam is anti-Christian. How fascinating that this should be coming up over and over. I find it particularly interesting especially considering why I believe American Christians are on this kick. I think they are because we have an election coming up in which America’s “war on terror” (mainly aimed toward Muslim extremists) on people who can’t seem to tolerate the Western way of life. Kettle meet black. Somehow tolerating other people’s religious beliefs and lifestyles is seen as anti-Christian. But wait… is that Biblical or is that political? Hmm.
This is also something that I hear about concerning homosexuality. Tolerance of a lifestyle that Christians (for the most part) seem not to support, suddenly can’t be tolerated either. It doesn’t matter that those people have to answer to God Christians are somehow supposed to make them answer to them as well. I heard some who used to watch a particular show say that it was ruined because one of the lead actors is gay and that was just disgusting. I was sitting there thinking about how they consider homosexuality a sin right? But then why didn’t they stop watching other movies because people were fornicators, thieves, or liars even. I mean wouldn’t it be the same in their book, if sin is sin.
Again take a Christ-like example. Did Christ go around putting a stop to all the sin he came in contact with? Or did he get to know the people genuinely and perhaps even listen to their side? Perhaps it’s my own personal belief, but I believe that that is why Christ went to bat for us, and begged for our forgiveness. Because he knew us. Perhaps then we should conclude that even more than tolerate, we should form a relationship with these people.
(And for those who may reference it: I believe unequally yoked refers to a marriage relationship not a friend relationship.)
3. Christ was not naive when he exemplified non-violence.
I find it really perplexing when politically conservative Christians talk about international relations and ways to deal with our enemies, Christ is left out. They talk about our responsibility to do good in the world, but say that the innocent deaths that we cause in the wake are simply collateral damage. Christ saved the entire world past present and future souls by giving up his life. What more do we need in an example? How can we call ourselves Christians and forsake the ultimate example of Christ? I’ll tell you how it’s said. Suddenly, logic rules and Christ’s example is ignored in it’s favor. But let me tell you that Gandhi wouldn’t say that Jesus example was naive. It liberated a billion people. Non-violence does not equal passivity. Civil disobedience and non-cooperation can topple regimes and better than that it can change hearts and minds. What America has perpetuated in it’s quest to end terror is terror and a petri dish kind of breeding ground for terrorism. People who would perhaps have cooperated now have seen innocent people on all sides of them killed for lies and accidents. Tell me if you were in their shoes, if a tylenol factory that your husband, brother, son was working in was bombed, would you be angry?
The people who most need to hear it are probably the ones who will roll their eyes, but aren’t we called to love them? Aren’t we called to turn the other cheek? Aren’t we supposed to consider it gain to die for what is right? We are. And it’s not weakness, indeed Christ was not weak to be beaten and be killed to save us. And it’s not naive, Christ is not naive, indeed he knows more than we do being omniscient and all.
Please Christians, stop spitting on the mirror of God that you are and try to reflect Christ instead.