Thursday, 15 March 2012

Intolerant of Intolerance.

It's a very strange situation to be in.  I'm not intolerant of all intolerance's of course.  There are things that I am intolerant of (intolerance being just one of them).  There are crimes against people and property - I think I am probably fairly intolerant of those things. Mind you is it just the crimes I am intolerant of though? not the people that commit them?

So what has brought this quandary about today? It is somebody I consider a friend, saying that the Bible says that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and that if Christians do not stand against this 'issue' then we are condemning people to live apart from God.

Was Jesus intolerant of people?  or was he just intolerant of behaviour? is there a difference?

Did Jesus verbalise his intolerance of either behaviour and/or behaviour to others?  The Pharisees come to mind straight away - he certainly said something about their piety.

Is there anywhere in the Bible that tells us that if we do not warn people that they are sinning, then we are denying them access to Heaven and eternal life?  Jesus most certainly did advise the woman at the well that she should do the 'right' thing - is this the blueprint we should use?  If so what is that blueprint?  He certainly was happy to communicate and get to know her (asking for her help in getting water) before he even began to converse with her.  When their conversation deepened he waited for her to tell Him her marital status before discussing it.  So if we are intolerant of certain behaviour/people - should we not be conversing with them and getting along rather than causing them to take offence?

I have no idea if there really is a 'right' answer.  Christians are always going to disagree on issues and Biblical interpretations - they were thousands of years ago so why not now?  However when I begin to feel pressured into condemning a group of people for wanting equality in the eyes of the law, my heals begin to dig in.  What I do know is this:

I do not believe that I have the power to prevent an Almighty God from having His way in the world.  We are warned in the Bible not to be stumbling blocks to those that believe (Mark 9:42).  However a stumbling block is not the same as a no entry sign.  There is far more teaching on watching things that make ourselves stumble than causing others to (Mark 9:43-48).

Sin and death have already be conquered - the very reason we are presently in the season of Lent and soon to be celebrating Easter.

I also believe that satan sits rubbing his hands (if he has any) with glee as he watches Christians causing each other and others offence. John Beveres book The Bait of Satan, taught me an awful lot about the power of 'offensiveness'.

At the end of the day I would rather be refused entry to Heaven for my intolerance of the intolerant than accept the idea that I can enter Heaven without good friends who are going to be denied entry because of their sexual orientation.

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