Tolerant Jesus?

Often I’ve heard the saying “gentle Jesus meek and mild” thrown around.  A decent amount of the time people use this to bring others up short by saying, “You shouldn’t be doing that because you should be like gentle Jesus, meek and mild.”  Many times Christians are told to love everyone because that’s what Jesus did.  If ever Christians are truly hurt by wicked people, the hurting Christian is told to “show God’s love” to the wicked person because “that’s what Jesus did.”  In the end, Christians are told essentially to have no negative feelings whatsoever (no anger, no feeling hurt or wounded – nothing but love).  Christians are told to be holy doormats, letting anyone and everyone walk all over them because that’s supposed to show Christ-like love to others.

Christians today paint this picture that God is only love, and He loves the sinner yet hates the sin.  Because of this, Christians are supposed to love those who abuse their families, molest young children, and flaunt wicked acts.  Essentially, Christian leaders tell everyone that they are to tolerate wickedness because that’s what “tolerant Jesus meek and mild” does.

However, God does not tolerate wickedness (Isaiah 61:8, Zechariah 8:17, Psalm 5:4-5, Psalm 97:10, Proverbs 6:16-19, . . . ) He does not throw the sin into hell yet give the sinner a free pass.  God does not sympathize with the wicked because “they’ve had a bad childhood,” or “that’s just the way they are and you have to understand them.”  God throws the wicked into hell (He does not do so gleefully, but He still does it.)  He does not side with the wicked.  He cares for the poor, the hurting, the suffering, the oppressed, those without a voice.  And He tells us to do the same.

In fact, in many cases, this idea of loving the truly wicked is taken to the extreme, where big-name pastors and whole organizations put the victims of abuse and violence under church discipline and then excommunicate them, all the while standing with the abuser, the rapist, and the wicked person.  They say they are “reaching out to a lost brother (or soul),” all the while the wounded person is left by the wayside.  The church leaders tell the victim to not tell about the abuse and horrible things that have happened because “Proverbs 10:12 says ‘Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses,'” or some other verse.  “We don’t want to cause dissension or disunity,” they’ll add.

If Christians aren’t supposed to cause dissension and disunity, why did Jesus vehemently oppose the religious leaders of His day?  If Jesus sought unity, why did He bother coming at all?  When He came he ruffled many people’s feathers and rocked the boat.  He even says:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn

‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:34-36)

 

By coming, He ushered in a change.  Or, He would have backpeddled when dealing with the Pharisees and retracted his statements like “whitewashed tomb” and “brood of vipers” (which was very strong language in their day).  But He did not backpeddle.  He did not compromise.  If He were to compromise, He would be less than God because He would have tolerated evil.  Christians are called to be like Christ, and Christ did not stand for wickedness.  Why do we embrace it so much that we shun the hurting, the oppressed, and the victims?

Many people have heard the story of the Good Samaritan (and often how pastors use this parable to say love the wicked).  However, who was the Samaritan’s neighbor?  The half-dead Jew lying on the road, NOT the ones who beat him up.  If Jesus really wanted us to love absolutely everyone, why would He not have told the parable so that the Samaritan, after taking care of the Jew, went in search of the robbers and tried to love them?  It seems like many pastors today do in fact do that (trying to love the robbers), but in the process, they kick the bleeding, bruised, and broken victim out of the way like he or she is just a speedbump or a hurdle to get past.  If pastors are willing to step on anyone to reach the lost, perhaps they’ve got it wrong.

There are many stories of abused women going to their pastor for help.  After all, the pastor is supposed to help if someone has problems.  However, all that these hurting people get is their problems diminished and blame-shifted to them (YOU were not subservient enough!  You know, this is a problem on both sides, and both sides are equally guilty), told that they are overreacting (I’m sure it wasn’t that bad!  You just took it wrong), pushed off to the side (Well, the Bible says that “love covers a multitude of sins, [1 Peter 4:8]” so you just have to love him more), or trampled (Why are you telling me these things! Don’t you know that’s gossip!  Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  You can’t say anything bad about him (or her)).

It’s no wonder the church is dying!  If people by the thousands are told these things, why would they stay?  Why would anyone be drawn to this?

Jesus is not tolerant of wickedness.  He does not use the bleeding, hurting victim as a stepping stool to reach the abuser.  He cares for the hurting.  He cares for those who have no voice.  He sees every single one that has been oppressed.  He knows them by name.  And He remembers every wicked thing done to the victims.  This is a great comfort to the oppressed and hurting, but should terrify those oppressing the victims. God is in the corner of the victim, fighting for them.

Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

2 thoughts on “Tolerant Jesus?

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