In 1987, photographer Andre Sarano shot an image of a small crucifix submerged in a jar filled with some sort of amber liquid. What was that liquid? Well, the title — Piss Christ — should be a fairly obvious clue.
In 1996, mixed-media artist Chris Ofili created a painting of the virgin Mary that hung in a prominent New York gallery. His media? Pornographic images and elephant dung.
To the surprise of no one, Christians were deeply offended by both of these works of art. But the more progressive minded of our country demanded tolerance. Never mind that both works were funded, in part, by taxpayer dollars. All forms of art are legitimate, even if they offend. Nobody’s forcing you to look at it.
You must be tolerant, they said.
Funny thing about tolerance. It’s built up as a standard for good, but today I ask you to consider a different perspective. Check out what Erick Ericson, a conservative blogger and former contributor to CNN, has to say about tolerance:
Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant,
then seeks to silence good.
Wow. Talk about provocative. Ericson goes way beyond claiming that tolerance isn’t good. He’s saying tolerance is a tool for evil. Could that be possible?
Well, let’s start with what the word actually means. If you “tolerate” something, you endure something unpleasant. You accept something you don’t like. You live with an idea you don’t agree with.
Often, tolerance is used in terms of people. When police kill a black man who is committing a crime, the cops are intolerant of black men. When we ask a gay couple to find someone else to bake their wedding cake because we don’t believe God intended for two people of the same sex to be married, we’re intolerant of alternative lifestyles.
Think about what that really says, though. If I “tolerate” African Americans, that means I put up with them, even though I don’t like them. Is that really what we’re after? More importantly, is that what God wants?
The concept we must understand is this: Tolerance doesn’t apply to people. It applies to the actions of people.
Of course, that’s not how the world portrays tolerance. The world claims that if we’re intolerant of someone’s action, we’re intolerant of the person. That’s a lie, perpetuated by evil.
And once evil has achieved tolerance, it’s a short step to silencing good, which is evil’s end goal. Why silence good? Because good serves as an ongoing witness against evil.
There it is, friends. Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then seeks to silence good.
Let’s get something straight here. Jesus preached love, not tolerance. In fact, Jesus may have been the most intolerant person who ever lived. He would not put up with the sleazy dealings of the temple moneychangers. He refused to accept the misdeeds of the Pharisees. He would not tolerate the mistreatment of lepers or prostitutes.
Allow me to repeat — Jesus wasn’t intolerant of people. He was intolerant of how they treated each other. There’s a huge difference.
We who profess to love Jesus should never be tolerant. Because to be tolerant is to be silenced. God will still win — if we’re silent, the rocks will cry out — but we risk losing everything.
So I ask you today — will you choose tolerance, or will you choose the Lord? Think carefully. Your eternity hangs in the balance.