Tolerance is a Lie


I read an article somewhere this past week that inspired a, “YES! That’s IT!” reaction. In the past several days, the Lord has added thoughts of His own. I’m passing along these thoughts.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

Sympathy or Indulgence

I don’t need to tell you that tolerance is the word of our day. Perhaps ‘word’ isn’t a strong enough…word. Weapon might be more appropriate.

I say weapon because it seems like the word tolerance is being used to beat people over the head until they submit. We are bombarded by messages telling us we must tolerate this and we must tolerate that or else!

But is this really a worthy goal? Have “we” stopped to think what the word tolerance even means?

Merriam-Webster defines tolerance as, “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”. Other definitions include, “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of…”, “to accept or endure someone or something unpleasant or disliked”, and, “to put up with”.

Which means that tolerance can only come from a place of superiority.

Us vs. Them

In order to tolerate something or someone, we have to first judge it or them to be inferior and, therefore, needing to be changed.

Things that are tolerated are to be avoided or stopped.

  • We tolerate the Summer heat until we get inside
  • We tolerate long, long lines so we can ride the roller coaster
  • We tolerate screaming kids because a 5 year olds’ Birthday Party is worth it

Given this point of view, is forcing everyone to tolerate – which forces negative judgement – really the best solution?

There’s got to be a better way, and there is.


The passage from 2nd Corinthians 5:16-20 written above gives us God’s heart on this matter in no uncertain terms:

  • Worldly point of view – anything less than God’s view of people is no longer an option. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
  • Who reconciled us – “while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8)” God gave us access to His love and His healing through belief in Him NOT personal perfection.
  • Ministry of reconciliation – we are called to reconcile people to God through belief in who Christ is NOT through personal perfection
  • We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.

This is why I say tolerance is a lie. It is a sham of pious sympathy held up as the epitome of human behavior. It is a diversion and we who know the truth of Christ must not fall for it.

We are called to something far deeper, more difficult and eternally true. We are called to love unconditionally with a mind-blowing love that points people to its source: the risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Don’t be tolerant, choose to love instead.