Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance Part 1

Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance I. O.E.D. definitions. A. tolerate: To allow to exist or to be done or practised without authoritative interference or molestation; also gen. to allow, permit. B. charity: Christian love: a word representing caritas of the Vulgate, as a frequent rendering of ἀγάπη in N.T. Greek. With various applications: as a. God's love to man. (By early writers often identified with the Holy Spirit.) b. Man's love of God and his neighbour, commanded as the fulfilling of the Law, Matt. xxii. 37, 39. C. compassion: Suffering together with another, participation in suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy. 2. The feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it; pity that inclines one to spare or to succour. D. forbearance: The action or habit of forbearing, dispensing with, refraining or abstaining from (some action or thing). II. Scripture requires believers to exercise discernment: making differences between right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable, judgment and mercy, etc. 1TH 5:21; JUDE 1:21-23. A. Making valid distinctions is the foundation of intelligent inquiry: things that are different are not the same. Declaring a thing true while also declaring its opposite as equally true is not tolerance but irrationality. B. There is good to be revered, evil to be rejected (ROM 12:9), and perverting how these values are defined has become the basis for enshrining and legalizing what would rightly be condemned in the eyes of God and those who agree with Him. ISA 5:20; PSA 94:20. C. Consider compassion, a positive trait which we should manifest in view of the way our God deals with us as weak sinners. 1PE 3:8; 1JO 3:17 c/w HEB 5:2. 1. Digging and dunging before axing is the general rule. LUK 13:6-9. 2. Per JUDE 1:21-23, it is not perpetual nor beneficial for all cases. ISA 26:10. 3. Sparing when one ought not to spare does not benefit the rebel. PRO 19:18; ECC 8:11 c/w ISA 58:1. 4. Sparing when one is commanded to not spare also invites God’s judgment. 1SAM 15:3, 23. 5. Faulty compassion towards someone involved in sin or destructive behaviors is hatred. Sympathy for a sinner’s struggle does not mean one should sympathize with his sin. LEV 19:17. a. Reproof from a friend is better than secret pacifying of an error in the name of love. PRO 27:5-6. b. The proper way to show Christian love is to do what is right, not what feels good or is easy, nor what is wrong, nor what cements wrong. 1JO 5:2-3. c. Charity’s softer tenets do not overrule its demands of propriety. 1CO 13:4-6. 6. Beware of false demands for compassion such as would deprive the healthy of their livelihood or rights in the name of public good. a. Public good is best served by a thriving support by the healthy. Forced compassion for the perceived benefit of some is also the forced denial of compassion to the person who needs to work. b. Hence, in Israel when communicable disease might be present, only the sick and symptomatic were quarantined. LEV 13:2-6, 46; NUM 5:2-4. III. Consider the comfort we have through Jesus Christ and His New Testament gospel. Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance 4-23-23 Page 1 A. The Eternal God is ever holy and will not let sinful man into His presence. HAB 1:13 c/w PSA 5:4-5. B. The Old Covenant only underscored His separation from man and that the best of sinners were still sinners unfit for His presence. 1. His mountain was ablaze and unapproachable. HEB 12:18-21. 2. The Ark of His Covenant was hidden behind a veil. HEB 9:1-4. 3. No sinner could be perfected by that Old Covenant. GAL 3:10. 4. Abundance of righteousness could not offset the sinful nature. ISA 64:6. C. Comparing himself with this distant, holy God, Job was frustrated that God could not truly identify with him as a man who struggled against sin. JOB 9:30-35. D. But God did come to identify with man in his struggle. JOH 1:1-3, 14. 1. Jesus Christ was subject to imperfect human authority. LUK 2:51. 2. Jesus Christ was subject to needs and weakness. MAT 21:18; JOH 4:6-8; 2CO 13:4. 3. Jesus Christ was subject to temptation. HEB 4:15. 4. But He held fast unto death, which satisfied God’s wrath against us. GAL 3:13. 5. He is not only our Savior, but our High Priest and Advocate. HEB 7:24-25; 1JO 2:1. 6. Because of Christ, the inadequacy of the sinner is not the barrier to God but rather the incentive to approach Him. HEB 4:16. E. As Christ walked among sinners, He was tender and gentle towards the meek according to the prophecies of Him: a caring Shepherd, not a hurtful mahout. ISA 11:1-4; 61:1; 40:11 c/w MAT 11:28-30. IV. Christ’s perfect model of brotherly relating before a pure and holy God helps us in ministry and in Christian life. A. Although Paul would not compromise truth and its implications, he modeled his ministry after Christ’s dealings with His fellows. 2CO 10:1; 1TH 2:4-8. B. As brethren, Christ’s model regulates our tempers and sense of justice in consideration of the foibles of human frailty. ROM 12:10; EPH 4:2, 32; COL 3:12; GAL 6:1. Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance 4-23-23 Page 2

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