Wednesday, January 02, 2008


What does it mean to be tolerant?

We have it all fumble-jumbled.

Saying "it doesn't bother me" or "it doesn't affect me" is just indifference.

Tolerance really means "I have strong feelings about something, and yet I can accept you."

I accept that he lives in a way that I do not approve of.

Tolerating those that you don't agree with - that's a talent.

Indifference just means living in a closed world. You're tiny, petty-minded.

Some people have to reject the bible to accept someone.

A mother discovers her son murdered someone.

What does the intolerant mother do? She says, "it wasn't murder." That's the only way she can continue to accept her son.

The tolerant mother says, "My son did something wrong. Now what?"

The tolerant mother says, 'My son the murdered. But my son for better or worse."

The tolerant mother turns her son in, and then visits him in jail.

The mother who says "this is not murder" is essentially saying that she would otherwise hate her son.

But condemning evil is important.

We need to be intolerant of sin, but tolerant of the sinner.

While a sin may be evil, the sinner may not be.

This is a talent. This is tolerance.

This is why we have to know who we are and what we're made of.

If I don't know what makes me ME, how can I be tolerant of YOU?


Anonymous said...

As always your point is clear and correct BUT there are limits to tolerance. There ARE people who are evil out there, and there are people who so identify with their aberrant behavior that they cannot coexist with us. We do not and should not tolerate the in your face gay activist who fights against all we hold dear and has no problem flaunting his sick behavior in front of our children, let alone the street criminal who endangers our lives or even the haimish white collar criminal who makes us all look bad.

SJ said...

Good point, Mim. One of my Rebbeim once explained tolerance in similar terms, and said that protesting against people who engage in things we see as wrong is not intolerance. Hurting or physically attacking the people themselves, however, would be.

rachel said...

tolerance is tolerating ants in your kitchen. or the bug bite that really stings.

when dealing with people, we need more than tolerance. we need respect, goodness, and kindness.