Tolerance vs. Hospitality

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Mike Glenn encourages us to extend the gift of hospitality rather than toleration.

According to the world, tolerance is the greatest virtue of all. Hardly a day goes by that you do not see some kind of message in some kind of medium, telling us we need to be more tolerant of each other. Toleration is the greatest attribute a human being can acquire, according to the world’s teaching.

When you think about it, is there anything more hateful than tolerance? Let me explain.

Tolerance means, I’m simply going to let you be. I’m not going to care for you as a person; I’m not going to pay attention to what’s going on in your life. I will tolerate you. So, if something happens in your life—if you get a flat tire or someone gets sick— I’m not going to respond to you as a neighbor. Tolerance doesn’t require me to do anything good. It simply tells me not to do anything bad.

In contrast to the worldly view of tolerance, the Bible teaches the virtue of hospitality.

Whenever Baptists hear hospitality, they usually think of the best cook we know. But hospitality is the spiritual gift of being able to welcome others into your life. We welcome them into our lives in the love of Jesus Christ. That is, we say, “We love you in the love of Christ,” and by loving you we are committing ourselves to your best as a person—to what’s best for you as an individual. If you’re hungry we’ll help you find food, if you’re thirsty we’ll help you find water, if you don’t have clothes we’ll help you find good clothing. Not only do we not do anything bad, we actively seek to do you good—even if you are our enemy.

I guess the best the world can do is to encourage you not to do anything bad. But in the power and presence of the risen Christ we are empowered to do good to our neighbors and for the world.

So what about you?

Do you like being tolerated?
Who in your life do you tolerate?
Who’s waiting for you to extend the gift of hospitality?

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