Don’t Tolerate Tolerance

Pulpit view Hawick News Friday 23 September 2011

Captain Steven Turner, Hawick Salvation Army

For some years there has been a political dream that we can have a tolerant society with no discrimination. But Dale Farm, 9/11, phone hacking and numerous other examples show this doesn’t work. Sooner or later, the rights and freedoms of one person or group will clash with another’s. How do we deal with this?

Tony Blair launched the ongoing campaign “Give Respect – Get Respect”. Or to quote the High Court judge who will rule on the Dale Farm evictions, “There’s got to be a bit of give and take.” The theory here is that by negotiation we can come to a form of agreement that suits both sides. But when two sides are far apart, agreement is not always possible. What then?

The Bible has always held up a higher standard – that of love, for God, for your neighbour and even your enemy. Tolerance says “leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone”; respect only works if it’s mutual; love puts others’ interests first.  Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It’s a risky strategy and could cost you dearly, but it’ll lead us to a more peaceful society.

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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