Can a Christian Be Tolerant?


Q: To what extent can a Christian be tolerant and can a Christian be tolerant in general?

A: It should be noted that the meaning of this word goes back to the medical term “disease tolerance”, i.e. when the immune system does not fight some disease. However, in today’s everyday life we use a more socially understandable term — tolerance as patience for the otherness of some people.

And tolerance is not always about sin. Sometimes tolerance is simply about some other kind of man. So, for example, it must be said that people with a different skin color had limited social rights in many countries that are considered leading today. And it must also be said that even today some people show intolerance or impatience towards the nationalities of other people or towards their life aspirations.

So how can a Christian be tolerant and should he or she be one? The apostle Paul in the Epistle to Galatians says: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). Indeed, we must help each other, we must help to bear certain pains, weaknesses or shortcomings of a person.

But when it comes to sin, then tolerance goes very far away. We cannot serve God and mammon, we cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils.  Therefore, we cannot be tolerant of sin. We cannot call white black and black white. This will be wrong. Therefore, even in relation to another person, one must not be tolerant of his or her sin. This sin should not be considered righteousness. We should call a spade a spade.

You need to be tolerant of a person, patient, ready to help him, ready to understand him, but at the same time intolerant of sin. But being intolerant of another person’s sin does not mean that you must to forcefully fix this person right away. To cause him good, if it may said so. Our task is to help this person to improve himself. Help to accept this or that state in order to fight it, and not to indulge it. Call a spade a spade. If some sin is revealed in our closest friend, our closest person, it is very important for us to carefully explain with love that it is destructive for our friend. To show him the extent to which it is destructive. Instead of trying to tell him how exclusive he is, if he does so, and that it is not a sin at all. It will be dishonesty, lie and serving the devil.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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  1. I think BLM is of the Devil. A deceptive play on our emotions for tolerance and equality which we all desire for our selves and others but not in violent protest or in a twisted way that actually persecuted Christians. We don’t appreciate the Leftist ideas in our schools corrupting of children either. Lord have Mercy!

    Why are there not more Orthodox schools for the children of the faithful?

    Why are is there not a larger social media presence of Orthodox faith for our children like in cartoons or fun quirky videos for teenagers that appeal to their age groups ?

    With Love in Christ

    1. Consider the message of BLM with the message of Martin Luther King Jr. who was also a black man advocating for justice for blacks, but who while not Orthodox was nevertheless formed by the Gospel of Christ.
      “As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. (1956)

      We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. If I am stopped, our work will not stop, for what we are doing is right.
      – 1956, in Montgomery, Alabama

      Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. (1958)

      A fifth point concerning nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. (1958)

      Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. (1963)

      We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.” (1963)

      1. Thank You Anna for your reply. I think Martin Luther King was a great man. It’s not the same movement as BLM at all unfortunately. Sadly BLM has caused even more divisions then unity. BLM does not embrace Christ. Know them by their fruits. If BLM came out with a confession of Christ I would support them. Instead they are anti family.

        1. I agree with you Alex. In my comment above the first word should have been ‘contrast’ not ‘consider’, didn’t catch the typo until I looked at your comment. BLM has much more in common with and is really a continuation of the Black Panthers and their nationalistic, Marxist, and violent ideology/methods. MLK in his own time resisted and spoke out against this movement. What is going on today is a continuation of what was present then. The Christian method has almost always been a minority position because instead of appealing to the rhetoric of power it calls us to humility and sacrifice in image of Christ. The fallen man rejects this latter.

  2. Why doesn’t God change but Mam always seems to be.
    Surely to come closer to the Supreme Being who said in Isaiah that ‘It do not change so you Sons of Jacob are not consumed’,therefore we should seek and become part of an unchangeable Church Doctrine.
    It begs the question Is Man being consumed by change?

  3. “Call a spade a spade. If some sin is revealed in our closest friend, our closest person, it is very important for us to carefully explain with love that it is destructive for our friend.”

    Thank you, Father. I remember reading once that love that does not correct is not love.

  4. However we rejoice that the Church always celebrates that :-The Holy and Life Giving Cross of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ always remains as the Eternal Will of God for Man to remain before Him. Our Salvation through Repentance is a sure sign of all Sinners Salvation preached continually by the Church through the Gospel the Theotokos and by the Saints in time.

  5. As St Paul says ‘after the 2nd and 3rd Admonition…
    If an individual does not join the Church in the struggle against sin through repentance,
    Then mankind is reliant on God’s fathomless love and great Mercy which we can ask for ,both for us and for others,particularly’the Catechumens’. Remembering in all humility of course – that we have all been in that position
    before our own personal Baptism unto salvation.

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