Avoid Intolerance

 

‘God shows no partiality.’ Acts 10:34 NKJV

Tolerance is not about ignoring differences but agreeing to accept them. It’s about embracing another person’s right to believe as they wish, and to behave according to those beliefs. One of the great tests of spiritual maturity is our willingness to love and pray for those whose beliefs and behaviours are unacceptable to us. Instead of condemning such people, we should see them the same way we see a blind man walking towards a cliff’s edge. Our reaction should not be to attack him, but to have compassion and try to show him a safer route.

Now let’s be clear: compassion is not compromise—any more than we could accuse God, who loves sinners and hates sin, of compromise. Why don’t we just emulate our heavenly Father? In the first century Jews looked down on Gentiles and referred to them as ‘dogs’ (see Matthew 15:26–28). But Jesus came and redeemed those ‘dogs’ and turned them into disciples. When Cornelius the Gentile summoned Peter the Jew to his home, Peter was reluctant to go.

He explained, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’ (Acts 10:28 NKJV) God was uprooting embedded traditions and opening up new opportunities for the gospel. Peter continued, ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’ (Acts 10:34–35 NKJV)

Could it be that God wants to expand the borders of your mind for His glory? If you’re open to it, He will bless you.

SoulFood: Ex 20:4–6, Deut 7:17–8:2, Is 40:18–31, Col 3:5–10

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Exodus 20:4–6 (Listen)

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:17–8:2 (Listen)

17 “If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ 18 you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, 19 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, the LORD your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed. 21 You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you. 23 But the LORD your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are destroyed. 24 And he will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under heaven. No one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. 25 The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26 And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.

8:1 “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Isaiah 40:18–31 (Listen)

18   To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?
19   An idol! A craftsman casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and casts for it silver chains.
20   He who is too impoverished for an offering
    chooses wood that will not rot;
  he seeks out a skillful craftsman
    to set up an idol that will not move.
21   Do you not know? Do you not hear?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22   It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
  who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23   who brings princes to nothing,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
24   Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
  when he blows on them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
25   To whom then will you compare me,
    that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26   Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
  He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
  by the greatness of his might
    and because he is strong in power,
    not one is missing.
27   Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
  “My way is hidden from the LORD,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28   Have you not known? Have you not heard?
  The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
  He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29   He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30   Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31   but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
  they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Colossians 3:5–10 (Listen)

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Sun 14 January, 2018


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