Rhythm. Harmony. Music. Such is the cadence of life. Have you stopped to listen to that song, rising up beyond the farthest reaches of the sunset sky? But even more importantly, have you stopped to listened to its Composer?
Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that we face is the ability to separate the blessing from the Blesser, the endowment from the Endower. How easy it is to get swept up in that little hand thrust confidingly in yours; that childish, dimpled face smiling at you from beneath sparkling eyes; those darling little flowers springing up in the newly-awakening garden, and get distracted with the wonder of it all. I hope you won’t misunderstand me, for it is perfectly right and good to bask in the beauty of this experience we call life. But let us not forget that other side – that ominous, tragic side.
Suffering. Even as I right this, millions of people trudge on wearily, day after day, with no hope and no idea of the death into which they are willingly be plunged. The cadence of death.
Are we so swept up with all the blessings God has given that we forget this battlefield on which we stand? Life is serious, my friends. We were not born to merely smile on all of humanity in a general state of beneficent approval (all the while knowing how very much they will rue such fickle “love” when they stand before an Almighty God) and throw up our hands passively with the excuse that “it’s their decision.” The bondage of tolerance is that society blurs (if not obliterates) the line between good and evil and values approval above truth. If we truly wish to love, we must not stand idly by while others steadily tread the path of despair and destruction, spewing out our insincere encomiums all the way. As Bob Hostetler and Josh McDowell explain in their article “Silenced by Tolerance,”
Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will love you even when your behavior offends me.”
Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth, because the truth will set you free.”
Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because you are worth the risk.”
Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.
In my opinion, “tolerance” is one of the most abused words in the English language. Honestly, if tolerance means letting people commit spiritual suicide and then clapping while they yield up their souls to the Enemy, all the while tucking away the message of life that we bear for the sake of not “offending” anyone, then I hope that we might become the most intolerant human beings on the planet.
Of course, I am speaking as much to myself as to any of you. Speaking honestly, societal pressure often triumphs over the gentle pressure of conscience. But through God’s strength, we can catch a sense of that grand cosmological scheme unfolding right before our eyes. That overarching plan, that glorious truth – the one that was instituted before the creation of the world…