These days the word tolerance is tossed around like loads of horse crap from a stall. When people use that word is reminds me of that scene in “The Princess Bride” where Inigo Montoya says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
A simple google search brings up this definition:
tolerance: the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
Is this really that difficult to understand? And yet, it seems like the people who scream for tolerance the most are the most intolerant people. People who claim to be so tolerant are really only tolerant of other people like themselves.
I believe that true tolerance is being able to accept people who hold an exact opposite view. True tolerance is accepting people who are intolerant.
I don’t think many people would willingly wear the label “INTOLERANT” and yet Facebook is flooded with hate criticism and intolerance. After skimming my feed for a few moments I feel like screaming, “I’m sick of this! I’m so intolerant of this intolerance!”
Oops…I just fell into it again.
See how easy that is? We claim to be tolerant but we just can’t stand those idiots that disagree with us. Ding. Ding. Ding. That’s intolerance.
The problem is that when we say we want “tolerance” what we really mean is, “I WANT PEOPLE TO BE TOLERANT OF ME!!” We don’t want to tolerate THEM! We just want them to tolerate me. Don’t judge me. Don’t hate ME. And if you do…well, I just can’t TOLERATE that!
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2
Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Making allowances for faults. That is true tolerance.
How come “Christians” are often seen as some of the most intolerant people? That should NOT be the case. Jesus said that his followers should be known by their love. Why does that grate against us so much. Why do we feel the inescapable need to prove ourselves right and everyone else wrong.
Time and time again Jesus was seen with the outcast, the rejects of society. He hung out with the very people who the “tolerant” people were intolerant of.
How about you? On a scale of one to ten how tolerant and loving are you? I don’t mean tolerant of your best friend and the people who dress like you, eat like you, vote like you and have the exact same values as you. Sure, it can be hard tolerating them too sometimes. But I mean how tolerant are you of those who voted different than you did? How tolerant are you of those who hold opposing beliefs?
When Jesus instructed us to love our enemies he dropped the mic and walked off the stage. Essentially He was saying, be tolerant and love everyone. See the best in people. Build bridges not bombs.
If you scrolled through your newsfeed today and felt condescending towards those protestors, those “fill-in-the-blank-political-leader” supporters, those liberals, those conservatives, those losers or any other classification that ticks you off…can you really call yourself tolerant?
My challenge for you today. When you feel that tinge of bitterness, anger, and intolerance, replace it with love and acceptance. Just because you don’t approve of someone’s views or behaviors doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accept them as a person.