What are you tolerating?

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace. (John Wesley). Have you heard that before? Have you stopped to consider just how true this statement actually is? Think about the days gone by, regardless of your age. I was born in the late 50's, so I have seen a bit of change around me. I have seen dress lengths go from mid-calf to just a tiny bit under the backside. I have watched as pant legs have gone from baggy to form-fitting, flared to skinny, finely tailored to ripped and torn. Hair styles have gone from bobbed to flowing length, coiffed weekly to wildly out there, grey colored at all costs to grey added at a bigger cost. TV became the thing in the 50's - today there is one in every room, streaming services abound, and the need to go to a drive-in or indoor theater no longer exists. We've gone from well-disciplined students in classrooms to all manner of disrespect to teachers. We've moved from respect for our laws to questioning each and every one of them. 
It amazes me how a small 'tolerance' of some particular behavior will result in the acceptance of that behavior as the 'norm' in the next generation. 

Where to societal norms really begin to change? In our children. They see what is modeled, but then they also observe well what isn't modeled. They see what is tolerated and where the envelope can be pushed a bit. They are keen to discover the chance to be just a little bit more daring than we were as kids. No wonder God tells us to get his Word into their hearts and minds. It isn't that we cram 'religion' down their throats - it is that we model relationship with Jesus and let them know exactly how much they need their own relationship with him. It isn't about hours reading the Word of God to them - it is about them beginning to discover how to use it to make right choices in their lives. It isn't about the endless hours in church services - it is about the times of simple sharing of our hearts with them in open abandon. It isn't that we tell them they should not struggle with obedience - it is that we admit how hard we know it can be to be totally obedient. God isn't asking for us to increase our tolerance level as much as he is asking us to decrease it. There is no greater threat to our families and society as a whole than to lower our tolerance levels for what is right. To fail to clearly define right from wrong will introduce the opportunity for one to define their own 'right' and 'wrong'. This is why he tells us to get the Word into our homes - into our daily lives - into our moment-by-moment decisions. It is so we will always be reminded of what he defines as right and what he will not tolerate because it is clearly wrong. Just sayin!


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