Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience … ?
Most cultures in the world today are appalled by the Bible’s statement that Jesus Christ is the only name “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). To a lot of people this is a scandal, a stumbling block, a narrow-minded way of thinking.
Glenn Tinder, a Christian professor in Boston, Massachusetts, explains that there is a world of difference separating the Christian’s idea of tolerance from that of the non-Christian. For the Christian, tolerance is an aspect of love. The Christian says, “I am worried about your beliefs because they have eternal consequences. But I will treat you respectfully, as I hope you will treat me. The law of love teaches me that.” This helps to begin respectful communication.
The non-Christian’s idea of tolerance is more an expression of aloofness and unconcern: “I don’t really care what you believe. I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me. There’s no such thing as truth anyhow, so why get upset about it?” This approach cuts off communication about beliefs, faith, and religion.
When Christians express faith in the truth of Christ, it comes across as fanaticism to people who ask, like Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). But evangelism is an expression of love, of the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God, meant to lead us to repentance.
Lord, teach us how to talk about Christ and how to listen. Holy Spirit, work in us so that we can grow to lead others to repentance and eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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