Now off the bat, let me be clear – I mean tolerance as shown and defined in an excellent Adam Ford comic you can find by clicking right here (and I am agreeing with who he’s saying is tolerant). That’s the kind of tolerance we all need.
Why do I need it? Let me explain. This past week – seemingly more so than any other week, there was a large amount of discussion on social media about the current hot topic of transgendered persons using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. I’m not against the discussion, its a complicated issue and one that needs to be discussed. However, what I am against is the attitudes from Christians (some well known bloggers, others being people I know personally) in their reactions. These attitudes they’ve shown have included comments like “if my wife and child are in the bathroom, I will stop them – even physically from entering the bathroom” – which is ridiculous, as it would be interpreted as – and would be assault. There’s no way around it, that’s not ‘standing up and making your voice heard’ – that is assault, and it is discrimination.
What concerns me most about this is how little of Christ, or Christian principles are shown in practice here. Show me in the word where Jesus did anything resembling what was being said by these people. “But Chris, there weren’t any transgendered people – and very few bathrooms – at that time” – well, fair enough. However, there was a lady brought to the temple – a lady with much sin. And don’t get me wrong, Jesus did tell her “Go and sin no more” – and that is paramount. But what did He do before? He showed her compassion. He showed her mercy. There is a place for stern attitude and harshness (and flipping of tables and whipping) – but notice how most of the time it wasn’t with the unsaved, but it was with the church? The people who should know better? As show here, here, and here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating ‘hippie Jesus’ or being of the world, but I’m saying in many circumstances we need to readjust to how we react to things.
Often on sunday mornings during worship, or during the week while we’re rocking out to worship tunes we’ll sing a song that starts with “Everyone needs compassion, the kindness of Saviour” – and my question here is; are we living it? The statement in the song is utterly true – through God’s sovereign grace we were shown unnecessary, undeserved compassion. And in reactions like the one posted above – I’m seeing nothing resembling it.
So where do I come into this? The blog post is called ‘I need to be tolerant’ after all. And I do. This week I’ve become very aware of how intolerant (and un compassionate) I am when it comes to fellow believers when they react in ways I strongly disagree with. I realized my first (second, third, and so on) reaction wasn’t to try to reach an understanding, or pray for a change in attitude, or lovingly rebuke – it was ‘I need to dropkick some dudes’ ‘I’m right, they’re wrong, and their mother dresses them funny’. Along the way of feeling ‘where’s the compassion peeps?’ I started hearing a voice going ‘where’s YOUR compassion Chris?”. So as I ask (and say) to anyone reading that we/you react to things – especially things we disagree with – in as a reflection of Christ manor as possible that you pray for me, that I will do the same. Pray that I will show the same compassion and tolerance that I want others to show. You know, that I will love my neighbor as myself. Live my faith. Thank you for your prayers, and thanks for reading.