Tolerance is needed when we do not agree with each other.
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“So those of us who have a strong faith must be patient
with the weaknesses of those whose faith is not so strong.
We must not think only of ourselves.”
Roman 15:1 God’s Word to the Nations
I have to admit that I struggle with the word tolerance. Tolerance is synonymous with agreement for many people. In other words, tolerating another individual’s opinion is the same as agreeing with it, yet this not what tolerance means.
This tower at the south end of the Wartburg taught me an important lesson about tolerance. There’s a dungeon at the bottom of this tower and Lutherans used it to imprison an Anabaptist leader.
The Lutherans didn’t like the fact that the Anabaptist didn’t agree with infant baptism. As a result, an Anabaptist leader was held in this dungeon until he died because he never converted to the Lutheran point-of-view.
We can create cruel dungeons for people who do not agree with our opinions even though we may not put people in physical prisons. There is the dungeon of name calling and labeling someone as stupid for their opinions.
If tolerance means that I must agree with another person, then I will continue to struggle with this word. But I will strive to be tolerant if tolerance means the freedom we have in Christ to disagree yet love each other.
Besides, you and I don’t have the final word, only God does and his final word was spoken on the cross.
Copyright Douglas P Brauner