Born to Love: Trumping Tolerance

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  • miles mcpherson
    (Photo: The Rock Church)
    Pastor Miles McPherson of The Rock Church in San Diego.
By Miles McPherson, Special to CP
July 26, 2012|11:59 am

In one week last year, Lady Gaga sold more than a million copies of her hit song, "Born This Way."

Maybe it was so popular because it's about how God made us like we are and how "He doesn't make mistakes." That's an affirming thought, no matter what your worldview is.

Don't think, though, that Lady Gaga, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, was singing from a biblical worldview. "Born This Way" is an anthem for the philosophy that dominates today's culture: Tolerance. There is no right or wrong. Anything goes - so go with it.

Ironically, folks who believe tolerance is the highest good can be pretty intolerant when it comes to people who disagree with them - even going so far as to call people like Christians bigots.

However, Christians can be intolerant too. Sometimes we come across as condemning. When we do, we forget that God made every person in His image (Genesis 1:26), and called us to love everybody. As in, everybody.

The Greatest Commandment

Follow us

Remember Romans 5:8? God demonstrated His love toward us - while we were still sinners. Christ died for those who need Him, not those who have it all together. (As if we can have it all together enough NOT to need Jesus.)

Aren't we called to do the same? Not physically die for everyone, but "die" in the sense of putting others first and loving them, even when they're sinners.

After all, to love is Jesus' greatest commandment. He tells us we must love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-39). And by the way, did you notice that it's a commandment?

If you have a problem with your "neighbor" (in other words, everyone around you), it may be because you have a problem with God. Maybe you don't want to obey and trust Him. Maybe you think you're a better judge of character, and can decide who deserves love and who doesn't.

That's not the way the Bible describes it.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (I John 2:10-11)

Even the Little Monsters

Do you struggle with a judgmental spirit? Do you seek to justify your gossip or critical spirit with versus from the Bible? Pray today that God reveals to you how to love people better. Remember what Jesus said.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

God made every person in His image. That includes Lady Gaga, called Mother Monster by fans, who are thus known as "little monsters." That is not to say He made the twisted, selfish and desperate thoughts and actions that permeate all our lives. He allowed us the free will to make the choice minute by minute to create something that either reflects His image or reflects something different.

Make no mistake, this is not about approving or not approving people's behavior. It is about being a conduit of love. After all, how can we attract people to Jesus when we convey a critical and disapproving spirit?

Rather than focusing on how different you are from people whose lives do not reflect Christ, focus on the fact that God made all of us in His image, He does love us, and we are all works of art – in progress. Above all else, remember He calls us, His children, to represent His love.

Miles McPherson, a former defensive back with the San Diego Chargers, is senior pastor of the Rock Church, San Diego, and author of DO Something! Make your Life Count, who inspired DO Something World, a growing movement of churches bringing hope to their communities through volunteerism.
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