I am seeing a transformation take place in our society, and it scares me. I’ve noticed it primarily among our nation’s youth and college students, although it is taking place among people of all ages. The problem is a postmodern shift in how we view truth and tolerance.
Over the last few days, I’ve seen and heard numerous statements to the effect
I know what’s true for me, but who am I to tell someone else how to live their life. Just because it’s right for me doesn’t mean it’s right for them.
You don’t have to do a scientific study to show that youth and college age students are now more accepting of “alternative lifestyles”, drugs, cohabiting before marriage, same-sex marriages, and more. The reason is that society has taught us that we can’t speak truth into other peoples lives, and that just because something is right or wrong for us, it doesn’t mean it is right or wrong for others. Society wants us to believe that truth is relative, that is is based on our circumstances, traditions, and background.
Today’s definition of “tolerance” differs radically from the traditional dictionary definition. Tolerance used to mean showing respect to someone, even if you disagree. It meant enduring with something, such as a person’s behavior, attitudes or beliefs, without necessarily agreeing with them. In other words, love the sinner, hate the sin. However, today you are labeled intolerant and bigoted if you disagree with someone. Today’s definition of tolerance states that a person’s behavior, beliefs and attitudes are inseparable from who he or she is. Therefore, any attack on behaviors, beliefs or attitudes is seen as a personal attack.
In today’s society, each person’s idea of truth is based on their unique culture, and because all people are created equally, the new tolerance decrees that no one person can claim to possess a superior truth, or a truth that is “more true” than other people’s truths. Rather, all truth claims are equally valid.
Here is why this is so important. I have seen so many strong Christian young people refuse to take a stand for truth. Instead, in the name of tolerance, they are afraid to speak the truth in love as Ephesians 4:15 instructs us. The Bible is more than a guide book, it’s the divine story of a God who has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. It’s the Good News that God loved you so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to rescue you from your sin. We can and should address sinful lifestyles and behaviors. Jesus is the perfect example for us. John 4 is a just one example of how he confronted a woman living in a sinful lifestyle. He extended tolerance, love, respect, and grace to her, but he still shared with her a better way of life. We have reached the point where many Christians celebrate sinful behaviors while condemning other Christians who hold to their convictions based on the Bible. I think our church does a great job of standing firm in truth, while extending love to those who don’t know Christ. We have been accused of being a friend of sinners, and I’m perfectly fine with that, because we are in good company. But we also preach and teach that there is a better way to live, by allowing the truth of the Gospel to transform our hearts and minds to be more like Christ.
Isn’t it amazing how those who claim their mission is tolerance are so quick to judge and condemn Christians who disagree with them. Do you see the irony in this? As Christians, we should show grace, love, and compassion, but we can’t be afraid to take a stand for truth. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us that truth is not just a concept, truth is a person. So take a stand for Jesus, and don’t give in to the culture we live in. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel!