There is a reason for tolerance. You and I employ it in all kinds of ways and contexts so that we might achieve an important purpose.
Parents of newborn babies put up with a lot from the little one. As a father myself, who has raised three daughters with my wife, I can testify that over the course of many years I’ve been puked-on, peed-on, poked in the eye, and kicked in places I’d rather not discuss. I’ve patiently helped with homework, taken time out to play with dolls, and stayed up late waiting for teenagers to come home. None of those things ever showed-up on my bucket list. So, why do I do them?
You already know the answer to that question. It’s because I love my girls. I would do anything for them. I was committed to doing whatever it took to raise virtuous, fun-loving, well-adjusted, God-seeking, responsible persons. I was willing to put up with a lot to see that happen.
The Apostle Paul was passionate and committed about reaching lost people and raising them in the Christian faith. He was willing to put up with a lot to see that purpose come to fruition.
“We put up with everything so we don’t put any obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.”
Paul was motivated by seeing the good news of Jesus Christ take root in people. He did all that he could to communicate the message. He was determined to not let his personal rights stand in the way of what was most important.
Mature faith in Christ will patiently, lovingly, and deliberately help others know Jesus Christ. Mature people will put up with a lot to raise godly disciples. They won’t let themselves or anything else stand in the way of a young Christian’s spiritual growth. They’ll willingly set aside personal agendas and even rights and needs to see them grow up in faith. They’ll protect and serve, teach and nurture, all while enduring the unpleasant stuff.
Tolerance for tolerance sake means nothing. But tolerance purposely used to spiritually form others in Jesus Christ is part of being a devoted follower of God.
Patient God, you know all about enduring humanity’s failings, immaturity, weaknesses, and sins. Yet, you put up with a lot to see us born again, grow in faith, and become productive Christians. Enable me to persevere for the grand purpose of seeing others come to discover you, know Christ, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.