5-Minute Bible Studies

TOLERANCE-A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Trudy Pettibone
Bible Teacher, Cincinnati, Ohio

January 28, 2002

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE – JESUS AND MARY John 12:1-11, Matthew 26:13, Mark 14:3-9

Have you ever been in a situation where people were saying bad things about someone who did something they did not like, and maybe that someone was you? That is what happened to a lady named Mary. Jesus and a lot of other people were at the home of a man named Simon. All of the people were there to honor Jesus. Martha, who was Mary’s sister, was helping to serve.

Mary was a lady who had done some bad things in her life. We do not know what these things were, but it does not matter. When Mary met Jesus, she asked Jesus to forgive her sin, and she had been forgiven. At this party that was being given for Jesus, Mary took some very expensive oil, poured it onto Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair.

Simon, the host, did not like Mary touching Jesus, because he thought she was a bad person. Jesus was not happy about Simon’s reaction. Jesus wanted Simon to be tolerant of Mary. Simon had not treated Jesus like a special guest was supposed to be treated. Mary was giving Jesus special treatment. Simon did not know that Mary’s sins had been forgiven. Jesus tried to help him understand the situation, even though he did not know all the facts. This is one way we try to be tolerant.

Some other people thought that Mary was being very wasteful. They wanted to have the perfume sold, and the money given to the poor. One of the people really did not want to help the poor, he wanted to steal the money. Jesus told these people that this woman was doing a special thing for him. She was preparing him for his death. The people probably did not understand what Jesus was trying to tell them.

Jesus wanted to help all the people who were in Simon’s home to learn to look at things from different perspectives. Even though some people may not act the way we think they should, we should be tolerant of them. We should try to listen to their point of view. Jesus was always tolerant of people, because he knew their weaknesses. We should always be tolerant of people, because there may be reasons for the way they act that we do not know about. When we are with our friends, we should not say mean things about others just because they do. Jesus does not want us to be tolerant of bad things, just things that are different that we may not understand. We should try to help people learn to be more understanding. We must remember that we do not always do the right things, so we should not expect other people to always do the right thing. When we are tolerant of others, others might be tolerant of us. This might help us to have very special friends that we might not have if we had not tried to understand where these people were coming from. We can not see into people’s hearts like Jesus did, but if we learn to accept people because it is what God wants, we will truly learn to be a friend to all.

Discussion Questions: Divide into small groups with a leader for each group.

  • Are there children you do not like?
  • Why don’t you like them? How are they different?
  • What are some ways you could love them as Jesus would?

Personal Application:

  • Identify someone who is different from you and your friends that you have not been tolerant of. Determine steps you can take this week to get to know that person. You will probably find that there is something very special about that person that helps you like them. And you will have a new friend.
  • Plan to tell the class about it next week.




This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.