John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” Those words were written several hundred years ago, but aren’t they just as appropriate today?
Don’t Wesley’s words define how society moves across the generations? How many ideas and actions did our generation embrace that were tolerated by our parents? Consider how many ideas that we tolerated which are now embraced by the youth of today.
When I think about it I find it scary. If I accept Wesley’s words as truth, then I must examine what I tolerate, because tomorrow it will be embraced as fact.
Tolerance comes in many forms: keeping silent rather than disagree, only voicing opinions among those who feel the same, and agreeing with someone even though I don’t. It seems as if tolerance and love are now the same. What happened to speaking the truth in a loving manner?
In Ephesians 4:29 we read: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. God will give us the strength to speak when we follow these words.
In tolerating someone’s actions or thoughts or ideas today I need to remember Wesley’s words. Not only do I need to remember Wesley’s words, I need God’s counsel to guide me. When voicing my opinion I need to do it in love, not hate. I need to remember Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us?