Tolerating Tolerance

Read Luke 9:51-56

For centuries, the Jews and Samaritans lived at odds with each other. It all stemmed back to when the Jews  were taken captive by the Assyrians (see 2 Kings 17:24-34). The king of Assyria moved in non-Jewish people from surrounding cities and had them settle in Samaria. These people brought in their own customs, culture, and forms of worship. However, since they weren’t familiar with “what the God of [Israel] required,” the Assyrian king ordered that one of the Jewish priests who had been taken captive be moved back to Samaria to teach this newly-blended group of people how to worship the Lord. The results? A mishmash of worship styles that highly offended the Jewish people.

One long-standing matter of contention was the location of the temple. The Jews believed it belonged in Jerusalem. The Samaritans believed its proper location was on Mt. Gerizim. So when Jesus and His disciples were headed to Jerusalem, their route took them through a Samaritan village. The Samaritans refused to let them pass through because their final destination was Jerusalem. This raised the ire in James and John–the “sons of thunder.” Their solution:

“Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Luke 9:54

Retaliation is ugly. Retaliation that stems from bias is even uglier. We live in a world where tolerance is not tolerated. Instead of finding common, sane, safe ground with those who hold differing views, we hear people spewing fiery words in an effort to destroy character, instill fear, and malign good intentions.

Did you notice Jesus’ response? He tolerated the Samaritans but He rebuked His own followers. Then He turned around and went a different direction.

Vice President Mike Pence gave a healthy perspective when he said, “We may have to tolerate some things, but we don’t have to endorse them.”

How do you respond to those with differing views?