Sunday, August 13, 2017

Good & Bad Versions of "Tolerance" - Part 1


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo SundayTolerance1_zpsgzoas5iu.jpg


Good & Bad Versions of "Tolerance" - Part 1

"Tolerance" has become a new social term that is overtaking common sense.  Today is the first post in my series about "tolerance".

Let's begin by defining the word:
Tolerance - lack of opposition for beliefs or practices differing from one's own; 
capacity for enduring.

Today we are focusing on the second definition "capacity for enduring" and this is what I call the good version of tolerance.  When I think of this definition I immediately think of the mercy and grace shown to us by our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

You might be wondering "what the difference is between grace and mercy?"
Mercy - is the punishment that God did NOT give us even though it was deserved.
Grace - is the gift that God gave us (forgiveness and eternal life) even though we are undeserving. 

Showing Christian "mercy" to others means being compassionate with those who are lesser than ourselves.  EXAMPLES:  Maybe someone is handicapped and you might have to "tolerate" their difficulties and go the extra mile to help them with meager tasks and not get angry if they are unable to do simple things by themselves.  Or, possibly there is somebody at work who is socially awkward, maybe even a little annoying and other coworkers mock or almost bully this person - you might have to endure this annoyance to show them mercy.  Or, maybe there is a church member who just became a Christian and they don't understand the basics - you might have to "persevere" through basic Bible studies that you've studied many times before with this person because they are at a different level in their Christian walk: just like it says in the following Bible verses:
"I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly."  1 Corinthians 3:2-3   



by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo SundayTolerance2_zpsldexs1gr.jpg

Showing Christian "grace" on the other hand, means giving forgiveness to those in our life, especially when they do not deserve this forgiveness.  This kind of grace could also be using our gifts to serve others even when they are undeserving(see the verse above).  EXAMPLES:  Maybe there is a neighbor who is continually gossiping about you because they know you don't drink.  Instead of gossiping about them in return, find something nice to say about them.  Or, maybe there is a peer at work who is jealous of your talent and this person is always trying to turn the boss against you.  Instead of going to the boss with bad reports of this person - why not try being kind to this peer and teach this person whatever talent they envy thereby sharing your talent with them.
Sometimes with grace we need to be careful that we don't become arrogant - see this scripture below:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9 

This "good" version of "tolerance" should never cause us to sin and should never support other people's sins. 
Let's try to "tolerate" everyone in the correct way by showing them grace and mercy always.


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