Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tolerate You?

I Love You Too Much To Simply Tolerate You
True to form the worldly wise are promoting the latest offering, in a long list of failed attempts to bring peace to our communities and serenity for our tortured souls. Past examples are too numerous to mention in total, but some classic blunders include:
- "Only the advance of science can save our species!" It’s been so long since that lie was first promoted that most people don’t even remember the original sermon. However, the belief still influences our thinking. For example, we have enough resources to supply food, clothing and shelter for everyone in the whole world, but we’d rather spend trillions to finance a mission to Mars and beyond to look for evidence that life spontaneously came from non life. And while we’re doing that, just in North America we’ll spend 5 billion a year on anti-aging creams, 10 billion on Mother’s day flowers and gifts, 30 billion on pornography, and 50 billion a year on lotteries. Perhaps our problems lie a bit deeper than what advances in science can address.
- We were told that the combination of wide-spread, higher education and stupendous wealth, would bring us emotional health and relational well-being. Skyrocketing depression and rampant anxiety among the educated and wealthy have proven the lie in that claim as well.
- Then it was sex without the perceived confinement of marriage. Remember the freedom that was promised with that lie? Only the perpetually gullible see bliss on the other side of this looming disaster. Two main consequences have come with the coerced celebration of the sexually disoriented. 1. The first consequence is an outright delusion regarding the epidemic of STD’s including HIV. One educated but misled columnist actually wrote that it’s not screwing around with strangers, or taking part in the death culture of IV drug use that’s spreading AIDS, it’s "ignorance and poverty." That comment is an insult to the informationally and financially impoverished! 2. The second consequence, is that everyone, even those who are opposed to it, are forced to financially support the extermination of the most defenceless people in our society, all in an attempt to hide the guilt, fear and corrupt self-love of the more powerful segment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m strongly pro-choice. Dear God how I wish that other people would exercise, not their right, but their obligation to choose, before conception, not after. But, being responsible would kill the romance of the affair, or the drunken sexual encounter, so we kill the babies instead.
- Or how about easy divorce? That too hasn’t been the miracle cure that the worldly wise and famous promised that it would be. There has however been one benefit of mass divorce. The benefit has been to show the hypocrisy in our claims that we love our children. We love ourselves, PERIOD! Let the kids fend for themselves.
- Oh, and don’t forget the pursuit of everything. Do you remember when you first believed that the busier you were the more value you’d have? Try standing in front of the mirror and then brag about how busy you are. It doesn’t have quite the same appeal as when you’re getting approving nods from your equally deceived friends, does it?
- No list of failures would be complete without disorganised religion - aka - individual spirituality. Not much needs to be said here since the only change is that some people now feel more self-righteous while still remaining impossible to live with.
Sadly, none of these things have brought us any closer to peace and contentment. In fact the level of anger in society seems to be greater than ever, with outright hatred seething just below the surface. The kids are indeed learning to fend for themselves. This brings us to the latest instalment of failure-by-design.
The latest solution is to indoctrinate us with the condescending attitude of tolerance.
"I will tolerate you." Doesn’t that make you feel all warm, and fuzzy inside? Sophisticates brag, "I tolerate everyone, no matter how diseased, dysfunctional and damaging to themselves and to society their behaviours may be." What they’re really saying is, "I have so little genuine love for you, that you can go straight to hell for all I care." So there you sit, surrounded by your sophisticated friends, yet utterly alone in the very dim awareness that others care as little about you as you care about them. Oh sure, you cluck your tongue at the famine in Africa and worry about the whale on the beach. But loving the next door neighbour or your partner is another matter altogether.
All of the above failures have sounded wise to the worldly, but this kind of thinking is repugnant in the extreme to those of us who know the love of Jesus. Why? Jesus loves us too much to just tolerate our miserable state. He refuses to tolerate the fact that the path we are following is leading to a disaster of eternal proportions. Rather than sitting back in smug tolerance, Jesus left His throne in paradise to venture into our slum-living, futile, enslaving, squalor. He did this to show us the way to victory and to freedom. This is a freedom from real guilt, freedom from slavery to self-destructive behaviours, freedom to make choices that will bring contentment into our lives despite circumstance. For Jesus’ love is a love that pursues relentlessly. It’s a love that continues, even when it’s called judgmental. Jesus’ love doesn’t just tolerate one’s acquaintances or even one’s enemies. Jesus’ love looks past the ugliness of your hidden thoughts, and the sanctimonious posturing about your tolerance. Jesus flat out rejects human plans that are destined for failure and says, ‘Come to me, all of you who are loaded down with life’s cares, and I will give you rest for your weary souls. I will give you peace beyond comprehension. I will guard your hearts and your minds and I will liberate you from anxiety’. And so, followers of Jesus are able to say, "I love you too much to merely tolerate you. You’re far too important to God, for me to just accept your sin in the hope that you will extend the same degree of cold-hearted, self-serving hypocrisy to me."
Jesus’ love stands up to the bullying playground tactics of fear that says, "If you don’t think exactly like ‘us’, then we’ll encircle you and exclude you and ridicule you." Jesus’ love doesn’t paste on a phony smile in the hope that you’ll stay at a tolerable distance. It invites you to come in from the cold. In response to jeering and mocking, Jesus’ love says, "I will go beyond tolerance. I will be good to you. I will passionately seek the best for you even if you see me as your enemy and hate me, simply because you don’t like to hear what I’m saying." The best part about all this is that unlike those who are wise in their own eyes, Jesus is able to deliver on His promise to bring to you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Isn’t it time that you find the courage to counter your culture and get on board with your Lord and Creator? Accept His offer of love and forgiveness, so that you might then extend His authentic love and kindness to others.

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