There have been many things in this world that have frustrated me lately. What with the politics, the government, the culture, etc. Sometimes, it seems to all be going downhill. Sometimes, it really scares me. Sometimes, I think, “What is this world coming to?”
This is a messed up world that we live in. A really, really messed up. It’s a broken world. One that is falling apart piece by piece. It is not sinless, but instead full of sin. It is not perfect, but so imperfect.
And in this crazy time that we live in, a lot of things are misconstrued. So many things have become distorted, their meanings changed. The truth is so hard to see. We have to dig, to really search if we want to know the truth.
So, today I want to talk about one of the most misinterpreted things of this age. I have been consistently frustrated with how the meaning of this word (Yes, it is just a word, but words are powerful things.) has been used.
Over and over is it used to make points, statements, etc. But it is used in a way that does not remotely mean what it should (and does) mean.
This is the word tolerance.
In this age we get so sensitive to offense when this word comes up. There is so much attached to the word tolerance.
In our time, people believe that tolerance means accepting other people’s opinions, beliefs, practices, etc. and taking them as your own. That’s what most people believe.
Because if you don’t accept a person’s opinions, beliefs, practices, etc. and believe it, then you’re considered intolerant and/or some other such term.
This is not right. Not right at all. It’s really sad that this is what most people think tolerance is.
It is also just absolutely impossible to live out this view of tolerance. Because who can accept and believe what everyone believes? So many contradictions would pop up. And in trying to make everyone happy by believing in what they believed, you’d make no one happy. It’s literally just plain impossible.
Besides, who truly wants to believe and accept what someone else believes and accepts all just to be considered “tolerant”? No, the only reason it happens is because of pressure and coercion. Because there is no one who wants to believe and accept something that they don’t believe and accept.
The true meaning of tolerance is much easier to live out.
According to a dictionary, tolerance means “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”
It is clear that tolerance does not mean accepting and believing another’s ways. No. It means having a “fair, objective, and permission attitude” towards another’s ways.
It means being kind and respectful about what another person believes, without having to actually believe it.
So I don’t have to agree with what you believe, but I can respect the fact that you have your own beliefs, though they may be different from mine.
And that, is true tolerance.
If we began to actually tolerate the people around us in the way that tolerance was meant, there would be a whole lot less hate going around in this world.