We hear the cry for tolerance in practically every news report and lawsuit filed today. Every special interest group throws the word out there, every time they think they are not getting the special treatment they deserve. Since our society no longer recognizes any moral absolutes, tolerance is the attitude everyone is subscribing too.
The main problem with tolerance as the standard we are to live by is the complete failure of our society to understand the actual meaning of the word. Tolerance does not call for special treatment or enforced belief. If we are going to live in a tolerant society, everyone needs to understand what it means.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, tolerance is defined as: “a willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” The Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” As a former English teacher, I must say, you never use the same word or the root of the word to define the word, so let’s look at the word tolerate.
Since Merriam Webster seems to do a better job defining things, we will look at their definition of tolerate. It says: “to allow (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) to exist, happen, or be done: to experience (something harmful or unpleasant) without being harmed: to accept the feelings, behavior, or beliefs of (someone).”
If we look at these definitions, I think we can all agree; if the recommended attitude for our society is tolerance, then we should all be willing to live together in peace, accepting each other’s differences without supporting or believing what the other person believes.
I can live with that. As a matter of fact, I have been taught tolerance from the Bible. As a Christian, I am called to love everyone but not agree with their sin. After all, we are all sinners, saved by the grace of God alone.
If we really want to learn how to be tolerant, we have God as the ultimate example of tolerance. Think about what Paul the Apostle wrote in Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Imagine the tolerance God has for us. While we were sinners, living and believing our sins were not so bad, God sent His Son to die for us—to provide forgiveness for us. That is incredible tolerance. He could have left us to our sin, but instead He sent His Son to suffer and die for us, while we were still sinners.
What is really unbelievable about the word tolerance and those who are calling for it is the only people they think are not tolerant are Christians—those who are called to follow the example of Christ. Because they believe Christians are so intolerant, there has been one lawsuit after another against Christian business owners who do not agree with their belief in same-sex marriage and choose to not participate in them.
Remember, tolerance means we agree to accept your right to your belief. It does not mean we have to agree with your belief. In fact, it means exactly the opposite. It means we agree to disagree.
Now, just because the judges, who are no longer enforcing the laws but making the laws, have agreed with the strong arm tactics of special interests groups, does not make them right. It makes them totalitarians not tolerant. They want everyone to submit to their beliefs, period.
I think it is important to note, the people first came to this country because they were suffering under a totalitarian government. The King of England had no tolerance for them and their Christian beliefs, so they set sail for America. Because of the persecution they suffered at the hands of the king, they set up the government of the United States to prevent a totalitarian government.
I pray, as a society, we wake up and stand up to those who would bully us for our beliefs. I pray our leaders would intervene with these judges who are taking on the responsibility of Congress and making their own laws.
The next time you hear someone cry tolerance when they really want you to submit to their belief, take the time to educate them and define what tolerance really means. As long as Christians are persecuted for their beliefs, we will not be able to live together in peace and “Coexist”.
— Staff WriterTweet