See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
—Colossians 2:8

Today’s pseudotolerance is radically different from the historic understanding of tolerance in several ways.

First, pseudotolerance rejects the idea of absolute truth. An absolute truth is a truth that is true in every circumstance. For example, seven times eight equals fifty-six is an absolute truth. There is no situation in which seven times eight does not equal fifty-six. However, there are also relative truths. The statement, “Seventy-two degrees is the perfect temperature” is a relative truth. All kinds of factors could lead a person to believe what the perfect temperature is.

Proponents of today’s pseudotolerance say that all moral and spiritual principles are relative rather than absolute. In fact, the embracers of pseudotolerance say it is almost impossible to label any behavior as absolutely right or absolutely wrong. So instead of saying abortion is wrong, we are to say, “Abortion is wrong for me.” Instead of saying homosexuality is a perversion, we are supposed to say, “Homosexuality is not my particular choice.” Instead of saying Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, we are to say, “Jesus Christ is the way to heaven for Christians.”

Second, pseudotolerance is intolerant of other points of view. That’s the most ironic thing about this new pseudotolerance. The people who say they are tolerant usually end up being the most intolerant people of all. They cannot tolerate anything that they perceive to be intolerance.

Third, pseudotolerance refuses to differentiate people from their beliefs, behavior, or choices. In other words to reject Islam is to reject all Muslims. If you oppose same-sex marriages, it means you hate homosexuals. If you lobby for the repeal of “Roe v. Wade” it means you must despise every woman who has ever had an abortion. Do you see how insidious it is to say that you can’t separate people from their behaviors? Thank goodness God separates us from our behavior. He says: I hate what you do, but I love you. But those who embrace pseudotolerance won’t allow for such a separation.

For us to be the salt and light Jesus commanded us to be, we have to reject pseudotolerance and return to the historic understanding of true tolerance. True tolerance can not only enhance our preserving influence as Christians in this world, but if we model true tolerance we can also boost the brightness of our witness for Christ.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Most Misunderstood Word in America” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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