Sunday, March 28, 2010
A tolerant heart is a humble heart
"Be careful what you look down on and despise,
God will send it into your life to open up your eyes." ~ Katrina Green
Tolerance - "The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others; acceptance of different views; fairness toward the people who hold different views."
America...land of the free.
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of opportunity, freedom to have and to express our own beliefs. It's a country where the belief in or against something can divide by great magnitudes. It can drive someone to question the difference between civil rights and the right thing.
I have been challenged in my own life over the past six months with judging someone that had beliefs or a lifestyle that was different than mine or did not meet what I felt was right or was in line with God's word. It can be a fine balance. You have to be careful because it will challenge your level of tolerance, your ability to understand, show compassion and it can also keep you from learning a great deal. You learn more from opposition than you do in agreement. Looking back over my life, I realize that I have learned the most about myself and the world around me when I ran into challenges, constructive and un-fair criticism, disagreements and ironically, those who were not like me or who did not share the same beliefs as me.
Being new to the ministry, I have had to look in the mirror several times and question my own ideas and views. After much prayer, I came to two conclusions. If I just surround myself with only those who believe like me, then how will I ever learn or how will I ever teach? If I judge too quickly, how can I ever claim that I am a follower of Christ?
Sometimes, we Christians, can be so stuck in our spiritual bubble that we become ignorant to the issues of the world around us. How can you change the world, if you isolate yourself from it? Scripture did not say to not learn from the ways of this world, it says do not be transformed/conformed by the ways of this world. Learn from it without allowing it to suck you in.
The very things that you rebuke, run and hide from, God will bring them to you face to face to challenge you, teach you and to remove the nasty sin called pride. We are called to spread the word of God; to encourage others to consider to get to know God, not to play God. We all have our own sins to account for so maybe counting other's sins aren't such a great idea.
No matter how sanctified, virtuous, favored, blessed or annointed you are, you still fall short in the eyes of God. The day of judgment belongs to the Lord and His alone. It is not for us to judge nor condemn our fellow brothers and sisters. A tolerant heart is a humble heart.
I encourage you this week to speak to someone you might usually not speak to; listen to someone elses viewpoint on a belief that you are firm against; and try to listen more than you speak. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason! Have a blessed week!
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Luke 6:32-42
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