Tolerate refers to allowing the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that you don’t necessarily like or agree with without interference. As a former high school teacher, students would test me regularly to see what behavior I would tolerate. As my classroom discipline and management improved over the years, I became less and less tolerant of immature and inappropriate acts.
I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars Revelation 2:2.
One of my biggest regrets as a former youth pastor occurred during a bonfire. This outreach event was before Halloween with nearly 100 teenagers in attendance. Prior to this night, I always gave a speech followed by an altar call to give students a chance to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. Yet, for some reason I focused too much on fun rather than faith. This lack of action was the beginning of the end for my ministry in Indiana as I started to tolerate improper behavior.
But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols, Revelation 2:20.
When it comes to carrying out discipline, the energy that I possess at the time of an incident will dictate what I ultimately tolerate. As a former junior high teacher, my worst behaved class occurred last period every Thursday and Friday. While there were days I laid down the line, as the year wore on I lost the desire to discipline. Perhaps, this was the condition of the first century church mentioned in the passage above. Whether its a woman named Jezebel or someone with ADHD, your energy level will often determine what you tolerate.
by Jay Mankus