Before closing off our study of intolerance, two more sayings are worth our attention:
The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered. (11:25)
The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern. (29:7)
The most obvious interpretation of the first proverb urges us to be generous with our money, but we would be wise to broaden the application to include being generous of spirit, to be broad shouldered and bighearted. Such individuals will be generous with grace, and the same will come back to them. Others, in turn, respond to grace with acceptance and tolerance.
The second proverb states that those who are truly righteous do not oppress the less fortunate. Instead, they become advocates, working to see that the less fortunate receive fair treatment. The term translated “rights” refers to evenhanded judgment, to unrestricted access to a court where an impartial judge can hear their case and then uphold the law. This kind of tolerance seeks justice and fairness for all. It does not excuse sin, but it also safeguards the guilty from overly harsh treatment.
Jesus serves as a worthy example of this. Our Lord knew no sin, did no sin, had no sin. He was never “hooked” by evil, yet His heart went out to those who had been and who were ashamed of their sin. On one occasion He even defended a woman caught in the very act of adultery. Having saved her from unjust treatment by a band of bloodthirsty hypocrites, Jesus said, “Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:11).
This is the brand of tolerance God desires in His people. Remain firm on the standards of righteousness and be generous with grace toward those who struggle to measure up. After all, who among us has not failed? Who has not needed grace?
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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