Jesus & Tolerance

Modern Christianity

Within the modern Christian movements has been an undercurrent of hostility towards others.  This is seen in the political anger and hostility against illegal immigrants, people on welfare and other religions (non religion as well.)

If you doubt any of that, just read Christian posts to topics such as this one:

Carrie Underwood Told Not to Sing About Jesus

By the way, the article is fake – it preys on egoic persecution complexes. Check out the snopes.com article reporting it a fake.  But what’s more important, is the comments.

Here’s some examples:

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This isn’t the first time I’ve covered people’s opinions.  I find them pretty harsh and not at all Christ like.

When someone like those quoted above (who claims to be a Christian but utilizes anger, hatred, and venom) is called to examine Matthew 25:30-46:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

They always respond with the same response: “Was Jesus tolerant of the money changers?”  For those who may not know, there is a passage in the New Testament where Jesus flew into a rage and banished money changers from the Temple… stating that they were thieves in the house of God.

Money Changer Defense

In the case of the money changer defense, we must recognize that:

  • This was specific to the House of God (Temple) and occurred no where else.
  • Jesus Himself did this act.
  • This act violates what Jesus taught his disciples to do (explained below.)
  • The money changers were people in power and connected with the religious elite (today it would probably be closer to the use of Televangelism.)  This behavior in this situation was never done to the common man, or “sinner” found elsewhere.

Basically, this situation of the money changers in the temple is a far cry from people who are illegal immigrants, ACLU who request no specific prayers at public events… etc.

Notice the reaction… Anger, hostility and hatred.  Notice how the comments are filled with people all riled up over this and willing to become “Christian soldiers.”

What Did Jesus Say?

Non Violence

First, let’s be clear – Jesus condemned acts of violence.  When his disciple pulled a sword to defend Jesus from the Roman soldiers who took him for his final moments, Jesus said:

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

The quote is from Matthew 26:52.

 

Love Your Enemies

Whatever you may think of your enemies, as a believer in Jesus you would adhere to the passage in Matthew 5:43-44:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus on How to Behave

In Mathew 25:31-46 Jesus tells a story of God’s return.  God returns and gathers the nations together. He divides them into two groups.  The first group he praises telling them:

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

They are confused because they never saw Jesus in such a situation and ask, “When did you suffer that we helped you?”

He responds, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

In other words the Christian believer should acknowledge God as their source and see everyone as having God in them… treating them with respect and compassion.  Providing clothing to the needy, giving food and shelter for those in need and letting the stranger in.

Yet why does the modernist strike against the immigrant seeking refuge?  Or being angry with the children at the border needing medical attention?  How can one be angry with those in need, when their own God told them to behave in such a way that those in need ARE God.

To those who refuse to be like this, Jesus continued:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

Relating to the “Sinner”

The modern fundamental church relates to “sinners,” by calling them out as such, yelling at them, protesting, and marching against them.  I have actually heard some Christians ask, “when has that happened?”

This unfortunate result of the modern church is the reason behind the hostility towards it.  When one is judgmental, they will be judged.  Jesus Himself taught that.  As the church judges others with the judgmental eye, it becomes judged by the rest of society.

What Jesus taught in regards to this, was to have compassion and care for the “sinner.”  An example of this is the passage in John 8. While yes, Jesus said, “sin no more,” to the victim – He none the less removed the angry crowd that was seeking her blood. Her choice of repentance was for her to decide.  Whether or not she obeyed, he still saved her.

Therefore the Christian should treat others the same way.  Rather than attack others, love them.

To Be Christlike…

Spend time inwardly.  Look inside.  Are there those you hate?  Let go the hatred, no matter the experience or history.  Stop clinging to an idea that you are different or separate from others.

Look to the concept of oneness, that you are one with others.  In Luke 17:21 Jesus told a pharisee that the Kingdom of God is within him.  This is further established in Matthew 25:31-46… by helping the “least of these,” we help God… because God is within all.

To be Christlike is not to pick up the whip.  That is to the be hand of karma.  To be Christlike is to forgive as he taught (70 x 7 times), to love our enemies and pray for those who despise us.  It is to keep the sword in its sheath and never harm others.  It is to be long-suffering and kind, never seeking vengeance.

So this Christmas, why not be Christlike.  Let’s vow this next year to let go of the ego and embrace our higher potential… the Christ within.

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