The Hypocrisy of Tolerance


Being a Christian in the age of “tolerance” can present quite a challenge. After all, it’s much easier to judge people and move on. What Christian wants to be convicted or confronted by attitudes that don’t exactly reflect the heart of Christ?

Whether it’s comfortable or not, we should all desire to be confronted when our actions don’t measure up with what we proclaim to believe. Such confrontation is a must, giving us the ability to emerge from the constant state of hypocrisy that overwhelms us. If we are honest with ourselves, we truly don’t want to be hypocrites, saying one thing and doing another. We really want to be doing what we’re saying. It’s just that it takes time for our hearts to realize the truth that makes sense to our head.

However, the deeper challenge for Christians in the “age of tolerance” is to avoid patting yourself on the back because you’re more open-minded than other believers. Such a grandiose view of your own faith can lead to a crippling state of hypocrisy.

In his book Thirsting for God, Gary L. Thomas explains how this false piousness plays out in a conversation he had with another young pastor:

[This pastor] talked about his ability to speak with gays, but in the same conversation personally attacked fundamentalists. I responded, “It’s no credit to you when you love gays but not fundamentalists. You’ve simply focused your prejudice instead of getting rid of it.”

Take a moment to consider your heart. Is your tolerance for others something that extends to everyone or only certain groups of people who make you seem cooler and holier than other fellow Christians? How do you lovingly confront someone without appearing like you’re better than that person? How do you respond to conviction in this area of your life, whether it be from Christians or from God?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NIV)

As Christians, our goal shouldn’t be tolerance, but rather a relentless, furious love that – like God – is no respecter of persons. No one should be spared from God’s love that wells up within us.

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