Tolerance is the key word for our society today. What does tolerance really mean? According to dictionary.com the definition is: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry; interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint; the act or capacity of enduring; endurance
The definition sounds right. What is wrong is our societies definition. Society has placed some views and people groups as ‘not applicable’ to receive tolerance. It is okay for every other person to share their religious views EXCEPT the Christian. At every corner God of the Bible is being attacked. Tolerance has given us so many versions of who god is that one can easily become confused. All other versions of god wants the followers to look forward, to be enlightened and look to owns own self. The God of the Bible wants us to ‘remember’ what He has done. No other version of god can do what He has done in history, in a persons life, or will do in the future. Remembering brings confident hope. If we cannot ‘remember’ we become confused and unstable in our view of God.
As I thought about this lack of tolerance for the God of the Bible, I began to understand why we are to remember. Memories are a gift from God. They bring tears of joy, sadness and grief. Memories bring strength, hope and assurance. God Himself keeps a journal of memories call the book of remembrance. This journal records faithfulness of all those who fear Him and esteem His name. When God looks at me what He sees and remembers is the day I put my faith in His Son Jesus. He remembers that I am His child.
So what are we to remember? We are to remember the faithfulness of God towards His people Israel, towards our personal life and His attributes that are all around us. When we look at a rainbow, God wants us to remember His promises. When we look upon the cross, God wants us to remember His gift of salvation. When we take the Lord’s Supper, God wants us to remember His Son as the perfect sacrifice. When we look at Israel, God wants us to remember His provision, protection, grace and mercy.
Yesterday, while driving I found myself getting more and more anxious. Nothing seemed to be going right. Finally, near the end of the day I began remembering what God did for me just yesterday. He gave me light where there seemed only darkness. He gave me open doors where there seemed only walls with no doors. As I remembered, my anxious nervous heart began to calm. Circumstances had not changed, but my heart had.
The God of the Bible wants us to remember what He has done. For believers, there are those special memories of things He has done for them personally. For those who have not yet accepted His gift of salvation, there are those memories of creation, Israel and changed lives all around us. Every one of us, even the most skeptical, can remember what God has done if we stop and sincerely seek to see.
Tolerance sounds so good but as I go through my life I need to remember what God has done and then I can truly be tolerant because I know who holds the future. Without this assurance, I can only be tolerant of those who see life as I do. When one looks at a believer what they are seeing is the reflection of Jesus, and this makes them unable to tolerate Him. Jesus is calling each of us to make a decision and the world wants to decide against Him. When one looks at Israel what they are seeing is the faithfulness of God Himself. To be tolerant of Israel one must face God Himself. To say that Israel has a right to be Israel is saying that they remember God and His promises to Israel as a nation.
Today, stop and remember God. Remember what He has done for you, what He has done for you and what He promises He will do for you.
‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.’