Recently while preaching, Pastor Greg said, "Tolerance Does Not Mean Unity." As I listened to this statement, it became clear that God intended to go a little deeper than just listening and agreeing.
We all recognize the importance of "respecting" each other's beliefs and opinions. Tolerance is a well-discussed subject in our society today. We want to take the above statement and see how it plays out in our every day relationships.
Can you relate to this? Have you ever attended a family holiday dinner and before the end was nearing, there has been as least one "heated dispute?" Maybe even worse, someone has angrily stormed out. Perhaps even as you are driving over to the house, you "remind" your spouse, "Remember not to bring up "xyz" because we don't want to have World War III start at Thanksgiving dinner." The family is definitely aware of their differences, but we "tolerate" or "respect" each other's beliefs in order to have peaceful family dinners, right? Yes and no!
They both "tolerate" each other's beliefs. The tone of a family discussion can quickly change when someone is directly asked their point of view on a particular subject matter. At this point, this individual has two choices: 1) Be true to their belief and list those reasons for it or 2) Keep the peace in the home and not divulge their real belief. Even if this family member is able to go with keeping the peace, the other party simply continues with their very different opinion and ends up getting the best of the "peace-keeper." Both parties have now become fully invested in each of their "opposing" beliefs. Let's just say "unity" is certainly not the underlying theme at this dinner table.
Why does this happen? In the past, both family members have been able to "tolerate" the other's views, but today they were true to their beliefs. These two family members have NEVER walked in "unity" regarding this subject matter. Perhaps neither party really thought about the unity aspect and did not realize such. That is until…NOW! Yes, we need to be respectful of other's opinions and beliefs. However, we also need to be fully aware that just because we "tolerate" a particular area or issue, does not mean we are walking in "unity."
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:8-11, "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." As believers we should always strive to walk in unity. However, we must not forget we all have a different story to walk out and God has given us the "free-will" to choose our paths. We strive for unity, but do not be surprised when you encounter disunity as "tolerance" will never produce unity!
You won't want to miss next week as we discuss "Tolerances" (Little Foxes) in a couple's relationship."