I think loving others is my biggest struggle. Not everyone, some people are very easy to love and I like to think I am pretty easy going-I do make friends pretty easily and usually keep those friends. I can usually go with the flow and accept other people wherever they are wherever I am. I struggle most with people who are intolerant...but not in the usual ways. I believe in standing against sin in my life and the lives of those I love and am in close relationship with. The people that I have close enough relationship with to offer insight or constructive criticism to...if invited or compelled by behavior to do so. The people I live 'in community' with have a responsibility to help me grow in Christ and I have the same responsibility toward them. That is all. As far as everyone else goes, well I don't think I know them well enough to be involved in their sins or struggles and I certainly don't have a right to sit in judgement of them. In fact, I have to LOVE them. Because Christ died for them and I need to be open to sharing that with them if they are not a Christian and rejoicing with them if they are. I don't have to listen to them, hang with them and can certainly boycott them if they sell some sort of product...but I don't get to judge them as 'not a Christian'. If they say they are, they are. That is the intolerance that gets under my skin. The kind that comes with a verdict about their relationship with Christ.
Let's use the giant Rush Limbaugh example. I like him, I believe he is a shock jock just like Howard Stern. He wants to ruffle feathers and he is a maestro at it, in my humble opinion. Is this an acceptable behavior for a Christian? He is a professed Christian and so I have to say, yes. He says he is and I don't get to dispute that. Does he always act like one? Well, no, does anyone ALWAYS act like one? If he says he is a Christian, do I dare say the blood of Christ cannot cover his sin? I think not. Do I find his behavior offensive at times? Yes. Do I find my behavior offensive at times? Yes.
Now a liberal example, Obama. I don't like him. Not one bit. He is destroying our country and likes doing it. He also says he is a Christian. That means no matter how much I disagree with him, and I do so very much, I accept this. AND I am called to LOVE HIM with the love of the Lord as my brother in Christ. My skin crawled a little. Almost as much as Hula Girl's does when she thinks about loving Rush Limbaugh with the love of the Lord. But she knows the power of the blood and I know she does love him as a brother in Christ while at the same time speaking out in
WWJD, I don't think He was agianst disagreeing with someone as long as there was still brotherly love. I don't think he would have an opinion in politics, but that doesn't mean I can't have a say in how my government or anything else I am involved in is operated. He certainly never spoke out against involvement in one's governing. I do not believe He would be a liberal democrat as some might have me think. I also don't think he would be a conservative republican. God was involved in governments, wars and often ordered not just wars, but complete annihilation. I don't think He would endorse hand-outs or governmental dependence. You can't take the themes of Christianity and apply them to government. Government should be neutral-like money. Checks and balances. Accountability and public discourse. Our lives are eternal and should be treated as such...but we do get a say and a vote in how our government is run and I believe that while citizenship on this earth is eternally worthless, I am not willing to 'check-out' of being involved. I will speak up and out about the direction I want our country to go in. I will also respect your right to do the same, even if you disagree.
Sorry, I digressed a bit, shocking isn't it?
So the intolerance I don't know what to do with is the alarming majority of Christians that seem to feel like they can TSK TSK the behavior of others and question the power of the blood to cover the sins. Sure, we are to repent and turn away from sin. But for some of us, that is a process that takes a life long cycle of lather, rinse and repeat. I guess I am thankful I get to be an example of what it means to be a broken, flawed, sinful, struggling CHRISTian. That way when you see me doing something good and selfless, you will KNOW the power of the blood and KNOW it is the power of Christ within me, not me.
You can also know that I will probably judge you at some point...and then I will mock myself seconds later for noticing the speck in your eye while still trying to remove the tree from my own. Then, I will remember that YOU are who God says you are, and I am who God says I am and I will remember I am called to love you...but sometimes it takes me a while for all of that to process.