I am one of those people who like boundaries. I try to stay within the boundaries and obey the rules and laws. I appreciate boundaries. I do understand that there may be reasons to go outside of the boundaries and sometimes everything will still work out for the good…the world doesn’t end…and the planet keeps spinning. That doesn’t mean it was a bad boundary or rule; it just means there can be exceptions. Exceptions are, however, exceptions and not the norm. I doubt I will regularly be the person to challenge a rule enough that it gets redefined. These things do happen; I am just not programmed to be a part of that process. Some of you are.
Boundary stretchers are always testing the limits. It’s not that they are intentionally bad people who love to break the law, rather it is just the way they are created and explore life. It is woven into their personality and has been since the first time mom and dad noticed they like to climb out of their crib to explore. Some people are bent towards expanding the boundaries and some people are bent twoards guarding the boundaries.
Not every boundary or rule is made to be stretched, broken or rewritten. Some rules literally are set in stone. There are a host of laws that have been abolished or changed in the not too distant past that have affected the very fabric of our how we define society. Whereas some changes needed to be made and adjustments needed to be worked through, other rules have simply been hijacked by a small but vocal minority of people who have enough clout to change the laws for everyone. I do not always agree that a minority should be able to dictate boundaries for the majority all in the name of tolerance.
Tolerating someone or something used to mean putting up with a person or thing without the need to fix him, her or it. Nothing or no one has to change, we just have to put up with it or bear it. It seems every family has that one family member or one friend who shows up for all the gatherings and requires loving tolerance. It doesn’t mean that family ceases to exist as a family or that they have to redefine their family. They just lovingly tolerate his uniqueness, but they don’t let him set the agenda for the whole family gathering.
These days tolerance means all values, beliefs, lifestyles and truth claims are equal. That might make some people feel better, but it certainly doesn’t make it true. Saying something over and over until other people repeat it doesn’t make it true. The author George Orwell in his book Animal Farm said all beliefs are equal but some beliefs are more equal than others.
Certainly people are entitled to their opinions, but we don’t have to call them truths just because those people believe what they are saying to be true. Everything in life can’t be up for a vote. All truths cannot be equal. Some boundaries are meant to keep us from harming ourselves. Most laws and rules help us live happy and healthy lives.
Christian author and speaker Josh McDowell challenges us to practice love in our pursuit of truth. In a Focus on the Family magazine from 1999, he said:
We must humbly pursue truth. It may be difficult to speak the truth in today’s climate, but Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” Pursuing truth in this context means countering the new doctrine of tolerance. It means teaching our children to embrace all people, but not all beliefs. It means showing them how to listen to and learn from all people without necessarily agreeing with them. It means helping them courageously but humbly speak the truth, even if it makes them the object of scorn or hatred. The Apostle Peter told us: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” he added, “But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).