Guard Against Intolerance
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, Acts 10:34
Tolerance is not just about agreeing to embrace our differences. It’s about accepting the other person’s right to believe as they wish, and to behave according to those beliefs. One of the great tests of spiritual maturity is our willingness to love and pray for those whose beliefs and behaviors are unacceptable to us. Instead of condemning people who err, we should see them the same way we see a blind man walking towards a cliff’s edge. Our reaction should not be to condemn him, but to have compassion and try to show him a safer route. Now let’s be clear; compassion is not compromise, any more than we could accuse God, Who loves sinners and hates sin, of compromise. Why don’t we just emulate our heavenly Father? In Bible days Jews looked down on Gentiles and referred to them as ‘dogs’ (see Matthew 15:26-28). But Jesus came and redeemed those ‘dogs’ and turned them into disciples. When Cornelius the Gentile summoned Peter the Jew to his home, Peter was reluctant to go. He explained, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean’ (Acts 10:28). God was uprooting embedded traditions and opening up new opportunities for the gospel. Peter continued, ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’ (vv. 34-35). Could it be that God wants to expand the borders of your mind for His glory? If you’re open to it, He will grow you.
Heavenly Father, help me to be more accepting of others and less judgmental without changing my beliefs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen