There was a general acceptance in the time of Jesus that all physical and mental illness was caused by demons and that the most effective way to rid a sufferer of demons was to invoke a name far greater than the demons. This man whom the disciples are complaining about had seen demonstrated the power of the name of Jesus and thought he would use the same name when he was attempting to cast out demons. However, there was no implication that this man was using it for personal profit or self-aggrandizement. Jesus therefore stated that all should be welcomed if they are not doing or saying things which are actively working against the growth of God's Kingdom. We can all learn some lessons on tolerance here: 1. We all have a right to our own thoughts. It is a worrying trend if individuals or groups or churches decide that they have the only correct way to God. No one can claim a monopoly on salvation. 2. Truth is always bigger than any individual's grasp of it. Tolerance does not indicate a lazy acceptance of anything, but it does entail a recognition that the Truth is mighty and the Holy Spirit is working in ways far beyond our ken. 3. Everyone has the right to speak their mind. Those who declare doctrines which are harmful must be opposed by wise people who can prove them wrong. Voltaire once stated: ''I hate what you say, but I would die for your right to say it.'' 4. Every doctrine or belief must be judged by its fruits. What kind of people does it produce? If it is those who give themselves lovingly and sacrificially, who are we to oppose it? 5. We may hate a person's belief, but we must never hate the person. We may try to negate the teaching, but should never wish to eliminate the teacher! What issues of intolerance do you have? Contemplate them and bring them before Almighty God.
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