I was listening to two “experts” discuss why the Charleston shooter did what he did; how he was able to sit in on their Bible study for an hour and then open fire, killing nine people.
One of the experts stated that the shooter’s problem was lack of tolerance for others. Lack of tolerance?
That is so wrong!
The world struggles to understand evil. They came up with lack of tolerance as the best explanation for Charleston, but it’s still wrong. Let’s face it, teaching tolerance isn’t working. We still have racism and shootings.
Besides, isn’t there something slightly offensive about “tolerating” people? We don’t have to like them, respect them, or value them. We only have to tolerate them. They can still make our skin crawl, but we’ll tolerate them. Yuck. Who wants merely to be tolerated?
Tolerating people is behavior modification, not a change of heart. Behavior modification without the right motivation doesn’t work for very long.
The only answer to hate and violence is love. Love changes us on the inside. It changes our passions and motives. It changes our direction in life. It fills us with other valuable qualities such as compassion, generosity, and kindness.
Love makes us different than we were. Our behaviors then change naturally, not as a result of instruction, expectation, or social pressure. Love extends and welcomes. It sees people as valuable, made in the image of God, and serves them with joy and humility.
Jesus didn’t just tolerate people. He loved them.
That’s what changed the world then, and it’s what changes people now – the love of Jesus Christ.
A lack of tolerance doesn’t lead to hatred and murder. A lack of love does.
What are we going to do about that, Christ followers?