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Acceptance, forgiveness, and tolerance foster peaceful relationships. But should tolerance have boundaries?

What is the key to becoming more tolerant?


Worldwide, winds of intolerance are blowing strongly, fanned by such things as racial and ethnic prejudice, nationalism, tribalism, and religious extremism.


During his ministry, Jesus Christ was surrounded by intolerance. Jews and Samaritans in particular hated one another. (John 4:9) Women were treated as inferior to men. And Jewish religious leaders scorned the common people. (John 7:49) Jesus Christ stood out as vastly different. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them,” said his opposers. (Luke 15:2) Jesus was kind, patient, and tolerant because he came, not to judge people, but to heal them spiritually. Love was his primary motivation.John 3:17; 13:34.

A model of tolerance, Jesus came, not to judge people, but to heal them spiritually

Love, the key to becoming more tolerant, opens our heart to others, despite their imperfections and idiosyncrasies. Says Colossians 3:13: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another.”

“Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8.

Why must tolerance have limits?


Most societies try to maintain law and order. As a result, they usually put reasonable limits on behavior.


“[Love] does not behave indecently.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) Although Jesus was a model of tolerance, he did not condone indecency, hypocrisy, and other forms of badness. Instead, he boldly condemned such things. (Matthew 23:13) “Whoever practices vile things hates the light [of truth],” he said.John 3:20.

The Christian apostle Paul wrote: “Abhor what is wicked; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) He lived by those words. For example, when certain Jewish Christians segregated themselves from non-Jewish believers, Paul—who was himself a Jew—firmly but kindly spoke up. (Galatians 2:11-14) He knew that God, who “is not partial,” would not tolerate racial prejudice among His people.Acts 10:34.

As Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses look to the Bible for moral guidance. (Isaiah 33:22) Hence, they do not tolerate wickedness in their ranks. The clean Christian congregation must not be corrupted by people who brush aside God’s standards. To that end, the Witnesses obey the clear Biblical directive: “Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”1 Corinthians 5:11-13.

“O you who love Jehovah, hate what is bad.”Psalm 97:10.

Will God forever tolerate badness?


Because of human nature, badness will always be with us.


The prophet Habakkuk prayed to Jehovah God: “Why do you tolerate oppression? Why are destruction and violence before me? And why do quarreling and conflict abound?” (Habakkuk 1:3) Leaving his troubled prophet in no doubt, God assured him that He would call the wicked to account. About that promise God said: “It will without fail come true. It will not be late!”Habakkuk 2:3.

In the meantime, wrongdoers have opportunity to turn away from their bad course. “‘Do I take any pleasure at all in the death of a wicked person?’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘Do I not prefer that he turn away from his ways and keep living?’” (Ezekiel 18:23) Those who seek Jehovah by abandoning their bad ways can look to the future with confidence. “The one listening to me will dwell in security and be undisturbed by the dread of calamity,” says Proverbs 1:33.

“Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more . . . The meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”Psalm 37:10, 11.