Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers, to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.
Also read about God’s promises to Israel, the futility of running from God, and how a fool and his words get into trouble.
Hosea 7 & 8
2 John 1-13
Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!
This is Love
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here in 2 John, the apostle makes it clear that the way we love God and others is by being obedient to His Word:
“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (v. 6).
Sometimes obeying God’s Word seems contrary to what the world considers loving behavior. The world often defines “love” as “tolerance.” Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2, Matthew 18.15 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 teach that we are to warn believers and unbelievers alike so they can repent and turn from their sin.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we go around pointing out every sin, but when we see a professing believer caught in a lifestyle or pattern of sin, we should be willing to lovingly confront them, when necessary, and perhaps come alongside them. With unbelievers, we need to prayerfully consider sharing the gospel with them and, at times, warning them of the judgment to come.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27.6).
Neither does it mean we should be harsh or self-righteous. In fact, this is a time to first examine ourselves and be sure we get the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7.3-5). When we do approach someone we are to be gentle and tentative, not tentative about the truths of God, but tentative about their behavior by not jumping to conclusions.
Perhaps you have a married female friend who has mentioned to you that she and a male co-worker have had lunch together a number of times or you’ve observed her playfully flirting with someone. You see all kinds of red flags, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Instead, you can lovingly warn her of the danger of spending time one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex or talk to her about the dangers of flirting. You might use an example from your own life where you thought something was harmless, but later realized it was a slippery slope.
Or maybe you have a co-worker who announces he or she is getting “married” to their same-sex partner and hands you an invitation. You know refusing to go will not be taken well, but you know you can’t support your friend’s choice. Continue reading