Do these stereotypes—tolerance at all cost or truth at all cost—bear any resemblance to the reality you see around you?
What if we called the people who hold these two more extreme perspectives “tribes.” Might these descriptions characterize these similar-thinking groups?
Tribe #1 – Truth at all cost
This group has bought into the idea that the world is “going to hell in a hand basket” and that they better preach real loud because they don’t want to get too close to the sinners. Truth and holiness must always be spoken and alluded to. Pointing out other people’s sin is a primary hobby. This tribe is the main one that gets mimicked in sit-coms and other media because they often come across as mean-spirited.
Now to their credit, they have not given into tolerance and are holding firm to standards that God has communicated. They understand that holiness—the idea of being different for God—is an important idea. They believe that Jesus only had to come and die because there is actually something called sin and that people are lost without His death.
Of course, they sometimes forget that they are also sinful. Most non-believers don’t want to get anywhere near them because they are so separated and “churchy.” They can’t carry on a conversation about anything except conservative politics and Christian music or teachers.
What’s their mascot? A Godzilla-like Jesus.
- He seldom has anything good to say, breathing fire at every opportunity. Sometimes he even acts as if he’s looking forward to other sinners’ judgment day. Ready to rumble!
Tribe #2 – Tolerance at all cost
This group has bought into the idea that the most dominant (and even Christian) value in our world is tolerance. They affirm everyone in whatever belief system they choose and to affirm living according to whatever behavior or lifestyle they choose. This tribe downplays the concept of sin because it appears to be such a mean-spirited and intolerant idea.
Now to give this group some kudos, they are friends with everyone and can easily enter into the context of the lost and broken. They are able to be present in our broken world. They also have engaged with the real issues of our broken world, desire to see our world restored around the tenets of the kingdom of God, and they see the importance of living with integrity—living out the love of Jesus that we talk about.
Of course this group is allowed to the party! No one minds having someone around that agrees with everything they say and do.
What’s their mascot? A timid Jesus.
- A friend of sinners. He never judges wrong behavior, gets in anyone’s face, or turns over any tables. That would make someone feel uncomfortable, get upset, or change.
Help me out here! What do you see around you—and do you lean in one direction or the other?