When Tolerance Isn’t Good
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
Tolerance. Isn’t that the watchword of the day? You can be anything but intolerant. This may come as a surprise to a nonbeliever, but all the strong Christians I know are very tolerant.
As believers, we have a worldview that comes from our study of Scripture and from our faith in Jesus Christ. We believe these things are true, so when we talk to someone who is not a believer, we try to convince him or her. We engage in evangelism. We want them to believe in Jesus as we do. But we also know that some people, after hearing what we have to say, will disagree. So what do we do? Do we scream in their face? No, of course not. Although we don’t agree with them, we still are tolerant.
But tolerance isn’t always a good thing. The church of Thyatira in Revelation 2 was tolerating sin. Jesus specifically focused in on this problem when He addressed this church, saying, “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (verse 20).
I don’t know whether this was a literal Jezebel to whom Jesus was referring or whether He was using the name as a metaphor for wickedness. We do know that Queen Jezebel of the Old Testament was an extremely wicked woman and culpable in putting to death the prophets of the Lord. She was teaching that immorality was not a serious issue.
The church of Thyatira was tolerating sin, and so Jesus essentially told them, “I am intolerant of this sin. You are allowing sexual immorality into your ranks.”
We cannot be followers of Christ and try to live in two worlds.
Summary: We are called to be “intolerant” of immorality!