I have lots of great friends. Some are straight, some are gay, some are lesbian. Some are Christian, some are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Agnostic, and Atheist. Some are hardline conservatives, some are far-left liberals. Some are so libertarian they make Ayn Rand look like a communist. Some are conspiracy theorists, and some are hippies. Some are hipsters, and some are suburbanites. Some are Calvinists, and some are Catholics. Some are filthy rich, and some are dirt poor. And you know what?
I don’t tolerate them. I love them.
I tolerate my lower back pain. I tolerate Nashville summers. I tolerate my dog being smelly after running around in the rain. I don’t tolerate other human beings.
The very essence of the word “tolerance” implies that we must somehow “put up” with each others differences. That they cause us suffering, or annoyance, and these “others” are hardships to be endured.
There are three basic ways you can relate to another person:
Tolerance assumes hate, or at the least, indifference.
I choose love. Love runs toward, not away. It sees the humanity in someone else, despite their differences and perceived errors in belief or action. It seeks the common good.
When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t simply tolerate the masses who followed him. He loved them. He healed them. He befriended them, ate with them, drank with them, celebrated with them, mourned with them, had compassion on them.
Tolerance is a lie, and for those who already entertain hatred or indifference in their hearts, it makes them feel like they cannot be honest about their own feelings. If we never address our deep-seated fears of the “other”, but simply sweep them under the rug of tolerance, they will never change.
It is only in close proximity to the “other” that our fears typically vanish, and we see the humanity and beauty in another member of God’s creation. Tolerance keeps us at a safe distance. But hey, at least we are staying on the right side of political correctness. How useless; how vain.
There are only three options: Love, hate, or indifference. Which one do you choose?