As I wrestled with myself, God showed me three ways I'd unknowingly extended tolerance instead of Jesus' whole-hearted love and acceptance.
Julie invited me into her home to show off her new couch. As I dutifully ooh-ed and aah-ed over the toffee-colored suede sectional, I caught a glimpse of a new Buddha statue sitting in her living room.
I wish I'd struggled with what to say or whether to say anything at all … but I didn't. In truth, I barely noticed. We'd become so comfortable with each other as friends that Julie's distance from God was normal to me. It didn't even occur to me to notice, to say something, or even to pray about it. It simply passed by as if it were a non-event. I'd become so used to flippantly thinking, It will all work out eventually!, that I didn't bother to notice an external sign of a gaping hole in my dear friend's heart. All I could feel was a twinge of jealousy over her new couch.
The prophet Jeremiah penned God's accusations against the religious leaders of the day: "They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14). God doesn't tolerate his people turning away from the direness of others' spiritual state.
I had become so accustomed to Julie's need for Jesus that I became apathetic toward it. I was too busy laughing, drinking coffee, and simply enjoying her company to care. The sheer joy of relationship became more precious to me than the destiny of her soul. Perhaps these are harsh words, but they were the harsh reality of my heart.