We live in a culture where tolerance is seen as a very important personal trait. Perhaps discovering the definition of the word “tolerant” is key to deciding if it is a characteristic that you want to fully adopt or not. For some people, tolerance is simply “withholding the power to coerce conformity” or being gracious, kind, open-minded, and charitable towards those who have opinions or convictions that differ from your own. One of the difficulties is that if one is not seen as being tolerant, it automatically makes you “intolerant”, which is defined in the dictionary as being “bigoted, rigid, narrow-minded, small-minded, parochial, provincial, partial, and unjust. The interesting challenge is to decide when the possibility of getting that negative label is worth the risk.
There’s a fascinating story in Exodus about two women who had no question in their minds about right and wrong. When it came to doing the right thing, it seems that they were fearless They were midwives, who were named Shiphrah and Puah. The king had given them direct orders so the risks were very high. The writer did not identify whether they were Egyptian or Hebrew, but was very careful to explain that the king had direct contact with them. Would they have made the same decision if they had been acting alone is a question that cannot be answered, but God gave them together all the courage and wisdom that they needed so that the life of His chosen leader would be spared. Because they stood in awe of an awesome God, they, too, were well rewarded.
As it says in Psalm 115: 11 and 13, “All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD! He is your helper and shield. He will bless those who fear the Him, both great and lowly.” Great truths to remember when there is a temptation to compromise because of the risk or fear.