Truth and Tolerance
WE SHOULD RESPECT OTHERS’ RIGHTS. THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE MUST AGREE THAT OTHERS’ VIEWS ARE RIGHT.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Isaiah 5:20-21.
Verse of the Day: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20, NIV).
Dad walked into the kitchen. His daughter Danielle sat at the kitchen table doing homework. He sat in the chair beside her and waited for her to finish the arithmetic problem she was working on. When she looked up, he spoke.
“Danielle,” he said, “your mom told me you got into a little trouble at school today.”
Danielle nodded and shrugged. “I wore my ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ T-shirt. My teacher said I shouldn’t wear that shirt.”
“Why not?” Dad asked, his voice soft.
She shrugged. “She started talking about how we should get along with each other, and that there might be some kids in class that didn’t believe in Jesus, and that I shouldn’t make them feel bad by wearing that T-shirt.”
Dad’s face took on a worried expression. “How would that make them feel bad?” he asked.
Danielle wrinkled her forehead as she tried to think. “I don’t know,” she said. “I think . . .” she said, pausing and then starting again. “I think Mrs. Hammond thinks we should … we should respect everybody else and let them believe what they want.”
Dad nodded. He smiled. “That’s good. I think you should respect everybody else and let them believe what they want.”
“You do?” Danielle’s voice sounded surprised.
“Absolutely,” Dad said. “Mrs. Hammond and your classmates all have a right to their opinion; but that’s not the same as saying their opinion is right.” “It’s not?” Danielle asked.
“No,” Dad said. He pointed to Danielle’s arithmetic book. “I have the right to believe that two plus two equals five, but that doesn’t make it right, does it?” “No,” Danielle said seriously. “Two plus two is four.”
“Right!” Dad said, smiling. “And right is right, and true is true, no matter what anyone else says. Your classmates have the right to believe anything they want, and you should respect that right. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them or act as if they’re right.”
“Because Jesus really does love all the children of the world, whether they know it or not,” Danielle said.
Dad’s smile grew even bigger. “That’s right!”
TO DISCUSS: What’s the difference between respecting a person’s rights and saying that what he or she says, believes, or does is right? How can you respect others’ rights and still obey Jesus? What do you think Danielle and her family should do about her ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ T-shirt?
TO PRAY: “Lord, may our lives be ‘slogans’ of praise to you that others can read.”