Once upon a time, I thought I was a very tolerant person. I thought that I was “worldly,” and could and should be understanding of all religious beliefs (or lack thereof). As time wore on, I was horrified to discover that I wasn’t tolerant at all. I was actually very judgmental of everyone and everything. I never realized how quickly I passed judgement on someone until I started becoming introspective, and looking at myself- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I realized that this part of me is a very ugly place, and one that I want to rectify. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
It has been asked of me recently how I come to write about these posts. Today’s explanation: I recently discovered a subreddit called Christianity. It occurred to me, after reading some discussions, that I wasn’t nearly as tolerant as some of my fellow Christian Redditors. So I started researching in the Bible on the subject of tolerance. The first verses that screamed out to me can be found in 1 Peter 3:8-11. It says “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. ” This is definitely what I need to work on. It isn’t always easy, erasing 40 years of passing judgement on someone that I don’t know, or don’t understand their way of thinking. But…I am willing to try. There have been people in my world, or even on the fringes, that I have passed judgement on, and I have even gone through the same thing that they were doing, and STILL passed judgement on them. Hypocritical? Why yes! I should hang my head in shame at this very moment, but I wouldn’t be able to see my laptop to confess this ugly sin to all of you.
Another verse is a lot simpler than this one: it’s Proverbs 16:24- “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Something else that I need to work on. It still touches on tolerance, but also touches on how to deal with it- it’s not always a good thing to sling cruel words at someone…sometimes just being polite and gracious will get you a lot farther in life than immediately getting defensive. After all…”who am I to judge?” I am not God, and I most certainly am not Jesus. I am but human, and I love my family and my friends. I can’t ask for more than what I am given, and I am truly blessed.