In an increasingly polarized world, the word tolerance is becoming increasingly relevant.
However, we watch with sadness as those who demand tolerance become intolerant of those who do not agree with them.
And of those who tolerance is demanded from, we don’t see a better response.
Today, I would like to share a number of principles that, as Christians, we can use to be more tolerant of other people.
To get into the subject, I invite you to read with me this little bible text.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?
To their own master, servants stand or fall.
And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Romans 14:1 – 4
Perhaps at this point, you may be wondering, what does that text of the Bible have to do with tolerance.
Let me give you some context.
At the time this epistle was written, Christianity was barely being born.
Its first members came from very diverse religious backgrounds.
On the one hand, there were the Jews who had become Christians, who had lived all their lives immersed in norms and rites.
Although they no longer needed to comply with all those rules and rites, it was difficult for them to abandon them.
They thought they had to keep observing them.
That’s why they were shocked when they saw that other Christians weren’t doing what they thought should be done.
On the other side were the Gentiles, who came from spending their entire lives in pagan religions.
Having now learned the truth of the gospel, they feared entering into any kind of contact with anything that had to do with their past life.
This made them think that eating the meats sold in the market, which possibly had been sacrificed to pagan idols, was a grave sin.
This is why they refrained from eating meat and demanded that others didn’t eat either.
This sort of thing was creating a tense atmosphere and multiple absurd and unnecessary controversies.
Both sides were so passionate about their faith and beliefs that they were ready to judge others for disagreeing with them.
The apostle’s response to this situation was a call to tolerance.
He instructs them that a spirit of love and respect for the other must prevail among them.
That it is necessary to understand that the other person brings with him a context and a past that I do not know.
Which to me is alien.
Which prevents me from fully understanding them.
That it is not necessary to agree on everything in order to relate to each other.
He teaches them that they have no right to judge their brethren because God had already accepted them.
Teaches them that it is God’s prerogative to judge each case and to dictate who is right or wrong.
While it is true that in our world we are not all Christians, and that the challenges we now face are morally much more difficult, these principles help us individually navigate those challenges.
Issues of public interest such as abortion, euthanasia, marriage, and adoption for people of the same gender, the legalization of narcotics, among others.
Our private lives may require us to be tolerant of others in areas more important to us than the ones I just mentioned.
These are all issues beyond the scope of today’s text.
Still, if we place first loving our neighbor, respect, understanding, putting ourselves in each other’s shoes, and empathy, we will be taking giant steps to live in a society where we all fit in.
If we adopt a mature perspective, understanding that it is not necessary to take to heart the ideas of the other.
Understanding that even if we disagree, we can interact with each other.
If we understand that God is the ultimate judge of all and not us, then we can lay down our weapons.
Even if we do not agree, instead of fighting, we can give each other a hug and live together and dialogue with respect.
I hope these words are a blessing to your life.
Do you consider yourself a tolerant or intolerant person? What is the circumstance you are going through? Let us know in the comments.
Blessings and a hug.