4 Feb

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”George Washington Carver

Are you open-minded?  Do you reject prejudice?  Are you unbiased?  These are all things that the world desperately needs.  There are too many people who are so intolerant that they reject anyone who is not exactly like them.  Their rejection, at times, is quite vociferous and may even be violent.  But, if we are intolerant, how can we possibly be examples to others who may be going down the wrong path?

If we are intolerant, we tend to push people away.  We tell them that they are wrong and that we have no use for them unless they change.  Which would you rather experience: someone yelling at you, telling you that you are wrong and that you had better change your ways or get out of their life or someone who embraces you, shares their values with you, and gently encourages you to make changes that will better your life?  I think we would all pick the second.

If we all picked the second example, though, who do so many people live the first?  Why are so many people quick to condemn?  Doing so only pushes people away and, if we push too hard, we may push them away for good, thus never providing the invitation or example necessary for them to change.

Tolerance does not means that we accept the wrong that someone is doing and tell them that the wrong is okay.  Tolerance is embracing the person who is immersed in the wrong and showing them that there is another option, a better way.

If you embody tolerance, you might be misunderstood by others.  They may think that you are clearly in the wrong.  That’s all right.  The same thing happened to Jesus.  After all, He ate with sinners.  He socialized with those who were considered outcasts.  He did so because He loved them and He wanted to invite them to change.  If you are tolerant of others, thereby setting a good example and inviting them to change, you will be in good company.

FAITH ACTION:  Do not be so quick to reject others today.  Rather, try to understand why they are the way they are and be an example of love for them.