Tolerating Wicked People
The buzz-word of our time seems to be tolerance. Tolerance has been positioned to be not only a virtue, but a requirement of modern society. Tolerance is defined as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
But, your tolerance toward another does not grant that person the right to do wrong or perform wickedness nor does it require you to tolerate those wrongs or wicked acts.
Jesus commends the church of Ephesis because, “you cannot tolerate wicked people.”
I think the ways to reconcile this in our lives are as follows:
- Purposefully eliminate filling your life (what you read, listen to, think about and discuss) with the wickedness of the world. There are far better things to fill your life with rather than the latest celebrity news and debauchery. It can feel like we are swimming in soundbites of sin because that is what we have allowed to surround our lives. Turn it off. Spend less time on tabloid trash (or no time) and use that time to serve God by drinking in His Word and pouring out His love to others around you.
- Do not be drawn into the notion that practicing tolerance is the same as being accepting of every sin someone wishes to continue to perform. It is possible to consider sinful behavior sin without hating the person committing the sin. Jesus modeled this. While we were sinners, He first loved us and died for us, paying the price for our sin before we did anything. Jesus was inviting to sinners, but he absolutely did not encourage them to continue sinning.
- Do not allow your own sin to disqualify you from being able to stand against wickedness. Those in the family of Jesus are not perfect (yet), but we are saved and forgiven. We desire to continue to be transformed into holiness and desire to sin less. The fact that you are not to cast the first stone, does not equate to giving up your right to believe that sin is sin. It is not judging others to hold onto the core values of right and wrong. That is a form of perseverence.
- Like the church in Revelation 2, test those who claim to be bringing a “new truth”. If their teaching and preaching is not consistent with all the words of scripture, it is false teaching.
Will doing these things be an easy path? In our times, the most intolerant people seem to be those refuse to tolerate beliefs by others that anything and everything they want to do is acceptable and right. Tolerance is expected for all beliefs except the one that says that sin is sin and we require a savior from our sin.
But whose acceptance and praise do you desire? From those on social media and in the news or from the one who holds the stars in His hand? Do not grow weary. Persevere.
The 7 stars are the angels of the 7 churches and the 7 lampstands are the 7 churches
The words John writes to the churches are the Words of Jesus, who holds the churches in His hand and knows all
1. Deeds 2. Hard Work 3. Perseverence 4. Cannot tolerate wicked people 5. Tested those who claim to be apostles but are not (and found them false). 6. Persevered 7. Endured hardships for Jesus’ name 8. Have not grown weary
I desire to have less tolerance for wicked people. They tend to dominate news and discussions – there are better things!
examine the scriptures to see that it is true, do not conform to the world but stay transformed to know God’s will, if speaking by the spirit then praising Jesus as the Lord (always), test by actions and share good things with their instructor, test against scripture, know right from wrong by being fed daily by the bible
To, regardless of consequences, stand firm in the name of Jesus. To witness the gospel. To speak boldly and act differently. To not back down. Not for own sake – but for Jesus’ name. To accept the persecution and hardships that come from that.