Tolerance. Everywhere you turn, tolerance is shoved down your throat.
Here are the top two definitions of tolerance:
- to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
- to endure without repugnance; put up with
Reading the first definition, it sounds fine. Good even. It's the second definition that puts a bad taste in my mouth. I know what it means to do something without repugnance, but the phrase "put up with" really gets to me. I picture a person with their jaw set.
I have no interest in being "tolerated".
Now let's look at acceptance:
- the act of taking or receiving something offered.
- favorable reception; approval; favor.
This has a much warmer and sweeter feeling.
Now, I'm not saying that we should look at other people and their actions/ beliefs, and take them as our own. BUT I believe that love and acceptance are directly tied together. As a Christian, I strive to operate in love.
Let me give an example from my own life:
I'm used to people picking me apart.
I'm introverted. People call me antisocial because of it. Tied to this would also be that I don't need constant conversation and can easily entertain myself by just thinking.
I don't smile constantly, so that must mean that I'm unhappy or angry.
I was homeschooled, so I'm weird.
I grew up on a ranch, so I'm a redneck.
The list goes on.
Plenty of people tolerate me, few accept me, and others... They do neither.
The people who tolerate me, basically don't talk about anything with me except for small talk things.
The people who do neither, pick me apart.
But the people who accept me? Those people are amazing. They uplift me. They encourage me. They are genuinely curious about my life and how my brain works and what I believe. They may not agree with my beliefs or decisions, but they accept me as I am. They respect me for the person I am.
That... Is a beautiful thing.
I firmly believe that if everyone operated like this, the world would be a very different place.
I am a Christian, but I much more believe in sharing about my God and my beliefs by example. There's a time and a place for speaking and sharing one's heart. In my opinion, if you aren't living it and people can't see Jesus shining through you... Then you have no business preaching to them.
Accept people where they are. People are broken, yet beautiful.
My heavenly dad? He loves me despite the mess that I am. He loves me for who I am. He accepts me as I am. That love and that acceptance is what has radically changed my life.
Acceptance > tolerance