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Tolerance vs acceptance vs Christian living

One of the more recent issues in American society is the notion of tolerance for individuals, which like most things seems like a reasonable request. You should be able to as an adult tolerate someone else’s behavior meaning you do not have to like or appreciate what is happening, but just the sort of allowing them to do their own thing. The more common definition of word meaning the allowable deviation from a standard. 

The real problem is the tolerance factor quickly shifted from allowing to accepting the deviation as it were. Suddenly it is no longer encouraged to promote Christian values, but to embrace those people and ideas that would oppose being a Christian. I would take it as one step further already and say that we are encouraged to embrace and promote sin versus living as a Christian.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify Christians are commanded to love one another as stated in several passages of the Bible including John 15:12. There is no commandment to hate or harm others in fact in Matthew (5:38-42) we are told the exact opposite. 

So, what can be done as a Christian? Let me give you three suggestions.

Suggestion 1. Live by Example

Living by example, is one of the greatest things that we can do. If we model our behavior to reflect a Christian lifestyle then people will know that we are genuine about our faith. A great example of this is in Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV) We as Christians living in America also can chose for the most part who we hang around with and what types of things influence or day to day behaviors. 

This aspect is also one of the more difficult things to do, because we are constantly being bombarded with advertisements, movies, tv shows and music depicting sins as more desirable. That a Christian family is something that is not desirable because it is outdated or not “politically correct”. The biggest reminder that we should have as Christians is that this world is not my home. We can do what we can to live and promote a Christian lifestyle, but this world will never be paradise for us.

Suggestion 2. Preach the Gospel.

Preach the Gospel as commanded in Mark 16:15, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (NIV) If I had to pick one issue that I think most Chrisitan need to work on it would be this aspect. I recently did a topic on Why Me? Which emphasized a lot of people make excuses or other reasons as to why they cannot fulfill this commandment. If you want to help influence the change needed for someone to become a Chrisitan you must help spread the word of God. They are not typically just going to pick up the Bible one day and start reading on their own, this kind of situation really happens. 

Obeying the Word of God can only happen to those who have heard the word, as stated in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (NIV) This is kind of like the old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, but without the water being available the horse certainly will not drink. Same thing for those that are in sin, if you do not teach the Gospel to them, they will not know God and will also not know how to be saved. 

Suggestion 3. Pray to God.

Prayer is a powerful tool that is one of the lesser used or seemingly less valued avenue for Christians. Since prayer is not something that yields an immediate visible result in our favor, a lot of people that would call themselves as Christians take it upon themselves to do things that should be left for God to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray continually,” (NIV) this is our communication method that we have directly with God, so it is commanded for us and something that we should desire to do on a regular basis.

Prayer should include everyone, not just for the things that we desire or when people are sick, we should pray for our enemies. Praying for those that are sinning can also impact them, especially if you let the person know that you are going to pray for them. There is no harm in praying for someone else and even people that would consider themselves as non-Christians will accept someone praying for them. 

Other things to think about

While we cannot change the world to be Christians, we can put for a valent effort to ensure that we do the most with our abilities that God has given to us. Just as all of the apostles came from different walks of life, we also have our own backgrounds that others can relate to. 

The other thing you can do is help enforce the teachings of the Gospel to children at an early age, stay involved with their life so that you can have a positive impact on their lifestyle. Another option is if there is voting in your area study the topics to understand the impact, think and pray and then vote for the best option that is available. Anything you can do to help promote a Christian lifestyle in a correct manner should be done so. 

If you do nothing, then nothing will be gained, if you put forth the effort you will be rewarded in the end.

By Michael John Marohn


                Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®

                Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM

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