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Tolerate One Another ()

Rev. Dr. William A. LewisRev. Dr. William A. Lewis, May 13, 2018

May 13, 2018 Mother’s Day 2018

Today is Mother’s Day, the third most Hallmark holiday of the year. Over 145 million cards are sent. $14.6 billion spent on gifts and dinners. 69% of those gifts are flowers. More long-distance calls will be made today than any other day of the year. If you still need to get a gift, #1 on the list of gifts most moms want is more sleep. Next to sleep, moms want a spa day. Third is a day out with family. Jewelry ranked lowest on the list.

I want to talk about tolerating one another…a good topic for Mother’s Day, especially when you think of all mothers must put up with. While on a road trip, a couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. They enjoyed their meal and resumed their trip. After driving 40 minutes, she realizes she left her glasses at the restaurant. Then to further add to the aggravation there was no place to turn off, so they had to drive another 20 minutes before they could turn around to retrieve her glasses. The whole way back the husband displayed a grumpy attitude complaining and scolding his wife relentlessly. To her relief they finally arrived at the restaurant and as the woman got out of the car to hurry and get her glasses, he yelled at her, “While you’re in there get my hat and credit card.”

Moms were made in the image of God… “male and female He created them in His image.” Gen 1:27. Moms are superhero’s. On April 13, 1989 in Los Angeles California a little girl was walking home from school. Mrs. Johnnie Matheston, mother of one, was waiting at a red light where Tiffany was crossing the street. All at once a man turned on red and headed right for Tiffany. Mrs. Matheston blew her horn, but it was too late. She watched in horror as the blue Datsun ran over the little girl. The car stopped with Tiffany directly under the motor. Before anyone could react, Mrs. Matheson got out of her car, ran to the 2,600 lbs. car and picked up the front end four inches while someone pulled Tiffany out. Tiffany escaped with two broken bones and some abrasions. Mrs. Matheston pulled two muscles, though 6 months pregnant she dead lifted over a thousand lbs. something no man has done, but a mother did.
Moms regularly pull off special feats of human strength.

They can run on little sleep for months while taking care of an infant and at the same time run a household or hold a job. They carry many identities: wife, friend, parent, Christian. The most amazing aspect to moms is their multi-faceted abilities. It is not just duty that causes them to be the child’s maid, cook, tutor, chauffer, launderer, investor and prayer covering. Moms get stepped on and stepped over, disregarded and demeaned. Some of the real strength is the way Moms continue to move forward through emotional heartbreak. Moms exemplify Philippians 4:12, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Moms have Jesus on the inside, that is what drives them.
There’s a contemporary song titled “What Love Really Means”. It’s about people searching for someone to love them and finally finding God. The chorus goes, “Who will love me not for what I have done or what I will become but love me for me?” This describes a mother’s love, there isn’t much a child can do or become that will destroy that love.
One of the most obvious characteristics is that they are selfless. A pastor visited a parishioner whose house was immaculate, except there was a hole in the nice rug in the middle of their living room. It turns out the neighborhood children had no where to play and she overheard them say, “We could never play at your house, it’s so pretty. That’s why we never come over.” Mom made an immediate decision, kids would feel welcome in her house. Yes, it cost her a nice rug. But it gave her a chance to influence all her kid’s friends.

Sometimes the sacrifices are a little more intense. Like the story when King Solomon had two moms come into his presence; because one had accidentally suffocated her child by sleeping on it. So, she took the other woman’s child. They argued back and forth “it’s my child! No, it’s mine!” Solomon says, "cut the child in half." One woman said, “Yes, that will be fair.” The real mom said, “Oh no, give her the child.” Moms will do anything to keep their child safe.
Solomon’s wisdom understood the primary characteristic of motherhood is self-sacrifice. Willing to give up her child to another to keep the child safe. Even sacrifice her relationship with the child to keep her little one safe. Moms prioritize the kids over their own selves. The counterfeit mom didn’t have the love a real mom would have.

I’ve told you before about Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and two kids were placed in a Nazi concentration camp. It was a labor camp with one rule: As long as you can work, you can live. When you can no longer work, you are exterminated. Rosenberg watched his mother and father be marched off to their death. He was worried about his youngest son because he’d always been a frail child. Every evening he would search the barracks to find his family and huddle together, embrace, and thank God for one more day together. Then one day he finished the day and found none of the familiar faces. Finally, he found his oldest son weeping in the corner. He said, “Josh tell me it’s not true.” Josh said, “Its true Papa, David was too weak to work today so they came for him.” “But where is your mother?” “Oh papa, when they came for David he was afraid and cried. So mama took his hand went with him.” This is the sacrificial love of a mother for her child. She got it from her Lord Jesus who when we were being marched off to the death camps of sin, Jesus stepped in and put an end to sin and death and separation from God when He made the sacrifice for us on the cross.

When Paul calls us to tolerate one another, it is because we have an agenda to bring people into a relationship with God that lasts forever. We are called to tolerate one another, the reason we do this instead of just writing someone off is because we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us.

What are you willing to tolerate to bring someone to Jesus? Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that I may save some.”

Noah got drunk in his tent, uncovered himself and became naked. So, his children covered him with a blanket hiding his shame. We cover each other, tolerate others weakness for the greater good of their spiritual continuation with God. 1 Cor. 12:18 says “God has placed each member into the body.” We are supposed to emulate the nature of God—forgiving, caring, deflecting insults to bring the gospel to others.

Today the word tolerate has been high jacked with the idea of tolerance…Whatever anybody does is legitimate-there is no ultimate standard for human behavior. However, tolerate does not mean endorse: Jude 1:23 “save others, snatching them out of the fire, and on some have mercy with fear hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”

A blind man met with the Catholic priest asking if his seeing eye-dog could get baptized. The priest let him have it, “How could you make a mockery of the sacred ceremony of Baptism. I can’t believe you would think this core Christian concept could be demeaned by applying it to animals. What’s in your hand anyway?” The Blind man said, “It’s a $5,000 check for the baptism.” The Priest said, “Why didn’t you tell me it was a Catholic dog?”

Being a Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, or Methodist, has never mattered less than it does today. For the first time in American history, Protestants comprise less than 50% of the total population, and Roman Catholics are 20% of the general population. The group growing the most is those who declare no religious affiliation. The catch word in our culture today is tolerance. Only 35% of Americans believe that moral truth is absolute. It is conventional wisdom today that truth is personal and subjective. To claim objective truth is to be insensitive and intolerant.

In light of this new morality consider Jesus’ statements in John 14: “Trust in God, trust also in Me.” The Greek construction makes it clear the first and second phrase are parallel equating the two. In this brief statement Jesus clearly defined Himself as divine. In verse 9 He added, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Earlier the authorities tried to kill Him because He claimed to be God (John 10:33). Other religious leaders claim to reveal God; Jesus claimed to be God.

Jesus says “I am going to prepare a place for you.” Prepare means to go before and make ready for the arrival of others. Other religious leaders told their followers how to get to heaven; Jesus is preparing heaven for us.

Then Jesus says I will take you to be with me, which means to walk along side of. Jesus didn’t return to heaven after leaving directions for finding our way there, He promised to come back and lead us there personally. Other religious leaders pointed to Heaven, Jesus takes us there personally.
Jesus states, “I AM the way, the truth and the life.” He goes on to say, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” No one in human history ever made this claim. Other religious leaders said, “I know the way, the truth the life.” Jesus said, “I am the way, truth and life.”

We need to be clear on these claims to absolute truth. Jesus said in essence: I am God; I am preparing your place in heaven; I will take you there; I alone can take you there. Acts 4:12 asserts, “Salvation is found no where else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we may be saved.” The Bible claims that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life.

This is important because with so many dismissing Christianity, it is imperative you understand what we believe. I was chatting with a man about atheism and he pointed out what the father of Quantum Physics, Werner Hesienberg said: “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Most reject God, Jesus, Christianity, because it competes with who’s in charge of their lives. It is merely the original sin repeating itself.
There’s something powerful about mothers of the faith. A study from Psychological Science showed children who interact with their mothers a lot develop healthier consciences.

This leads us back to moms. Moms provide a broader education than the university ever will. My mother taught me about religion—You better pray that will come out of the carpet. My mom taught me about time travel—If you don’t straighten up I’m going to knock you into next week. My mother taught me logic—Because I said so, that’s why. My mother taught me about foresight—Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident. My mother taught me about irony—Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about. My mother taught me about the circle of life—I brought you into this world and I can take you out. My mother taught me about my roots—Shut the door behind you, you weren’t born in a barn. My mother taught me about genetics—You act just like your father. My mother taught me about envy—there are millions of less fortunate children in the world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.

Psalm 22: 10 says “From birth I was cast upon God.” In other words, his mother raised him to look to God, lean on God, stay close to God. Susannah Wesley spent one hour a day praying for each of her children. She taught them to pray as soon as they could speak. When a child confessed a sin, she didn’t punish them. She understood her role was to influence her children for the Lord and produced two of the greatest evangelists, John and Charles Wesley.

If you are a mother, grandma, or a big sister; blood related or just a friend in that role or someone who helped us know Jesus, you are among the most precious people in our lives. The mother of Moses was supposed to kill him (Pharaoh’s orders), but she put him in the Crocodile infested Nile hoping in God. Hannah prayed for a child and was willing to dedicate him to God—the result was Samuel the last judge and first prophet was born. Elizabeth prayed for a child and late in life, John the Baptist arrives. Mary allowed her life to be rearranged by God and brought the Savior of the world to us.

Back to Psalm 22, here is a Psalm that tells the story of a man struggling with despair and ultimately triumphing over it with praise and hope. In the midst of this Psalm, God literally hides the story of Christ’s death on the cross. It started from birth!

The great Bible expositor G. Campbell Morgan said, “My sermons were Bible stories which I first learned from my mother.” The evangelist, D. L. Moody admitted, “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother.” The final prayer of John Newton’s mother for her young son before she died was that he become a minister. After being a lost slave trader, that prayer was answered with the song Amazing Grace as a cap stone!

William Wallace was right, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” If your mother helped you trust in Jesus as your way, truth, life, thank her today. If she is with the Lord, thank Him today.

If you have been given the assignment of motherhood, lead your children to your Lord. By the way, whether you have children or not, you have a role to play with your female image of God that the rest of us need. The nurturing side of humanity.

Women, your influence in the lives of your children cannot be overstated. What you do and say will be with your children and mentors forever. You are truly writing on the clay of their souls. You have the eternal privilege of helping them receive eternal life. If they are already believers, continue to help them follow their Lord. You are never too old to minister to them, what Jesus has done in you, He wants to do through you. Parents, your family is your first Kingdom assignment.

It doesn’t matter if the kids are still under your roof or have kids of their own. You have a unique authoritative voice in their lives. Not to mention your prayers to God have supernatural influence.

One child was following his mother’s every step, so much so, she kept bumping into him because he was doggedly on her heels. She invited him to watch a movie, while mommy worked. Told him to go play outside on the swing set. But he stayed on her every step. Finally losing her patience she asked, “Why are you so clingy?” He looked up with his sweet green eyes and said, “At Sunday School we were told to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, but I can’t see Him, so I’m walking in yours.”

Lots of us have lost our moms. You remember the heartbreaking moment you received the news. I had a surrogate mother who took care of me when I had no one. When she died I felt like a piece of me went missing. Then I realized we were going to spend eternity in heaven. Suddenly, I realized she is alive and I’ll be seeing her in a few decades.

Peter Marshall’s beautiful Mother’s Day prayer: Father, on this day of sacred memories, we would thank You for our mothers who gave us life, who surrounded us early and late with love and care, whose prayers on our behalf still cling around the Throne of Grace, a haunting perfume of love’s petitions. Help us, their children, to be worthier of their love. We know that no sentimentality on this day, no material gifts, flowers and boxes of candy can atone for our neglect during the rest of the year. So, in the days ahead, may our love speak to the hearts of those who know love best—by kindness, by compassion, by simple courtesy, daily thoughtfulness and self-sacrifice. Bless her whose name we whisper before thee and keep her in Thy perfect peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Sources: Jim Denison, Jeff Strite, Horace Wimpey

About Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis: Rev. Dr. William Lewis has been the Senior Pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration since 2009. Whether at a traditional service, praise service, or the more casual Thursday night service, you’ll find that Pastor William’s preaching brings the Word of God to life D.Min. McCormick Theological Seminary Th.M. Princeton Theological Seminary M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary B.A. University Colorado
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