Points to Ponder: The Tolerance Trap

Points to Ponder
The Tolerance Trap
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

What does it tell us about Jesus that He attracted to Himself the rejects and the despised of society: prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, Samaritans, and other "sinners"? The religious leaders, on the other hand, hated Jesus. The dregs of society who flocked to Jesus, wanted to touch Him and hear Him, and to hang out with Him all day. The "righteous" wanted Him gone. In which group do you and I best fit?
If Jesus preferred the company of such people, would He prefer the bars and homeless shelters? Does that tell us He was loving? Tolerant? Or both?
Yes, Jesus hung around with "sinners," the despised, and the outcasts. Why? Because they needed Him. Lost in lifestyles that can isolate and destroy a person, many do not know how to come out of them. Many are deceived in their thinking, believing that because He loves me, He doesn't condemn what I do. Would we say He is "tolerant"?
Have you considered that Jesus was both loving and intolerant?
Consider some of your lifestyle choices. Would Jesus actually disapprove more than you have wanted to admit? Suppose what He says is right directly opposes what you say? Can both of you be right?
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
Even among the churches that preach and teach the Bible, there are a lot of offensive things in the Bible that even preachers won't preach; and Jesus is often the One saying them.
The tolerant, inclusive Jesus we hear about is not the one of whom the Bible speaks. The biblical Jesus teaches there is a hell and a judgment day. He also speaks of Satan several times. And the two most intolerant, excluding statements from the gospels are His words.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
(Matthew 7:13-14)
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" (John 14:6)
If I don't want to hear what Jesus said, does that mean He never said it?
"And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.'" (Matthew 13:14-15 - words of Jesus Christ)
Suppose your oncologist discovers a cancerous tumor. Should he tell you? If painful surgery is needed, can you avoid it by refusing to believe it's there?
Deadly things are made no less lethal by closing your eyes to them; physically or spiritually. And comparing what's "worse" in the lives of others will not excuse you.
Lost people act lost. They exhibit symptoms of a terminal disease with which we all are born: the sin nature. Denying its presence, justifying its symptoms, ignoring its inevitable end is not kind, or loving, or even tolerant.
If Jesus was that tolerant, as some would declare Him to be, why the cross? Why come down from heaven at all if we're all okay just as we are?
The old hymn says it well:
Just as I am without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Have you come to him...on His terms?

Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.