A Place for Tolerance
Know the difference between tolerance and permissiveness. We make decisions about tolerance and permissiveness every day, and sometimes we confuse the two. When you are tolerant toward others, you are patient with them, even though their opinions or behaviors may differ from yours. You may even be convinced the other person is dead wrong, but you can still tolerate him or her. Permission takes the person into account, but focuses more on the behavior. When you are permissive, you don’t forbid the behavior of another.
So how do you distinguish between the two? Obviously, your permission counts only when you have authority over another person. You would never say, “I’m giving my boss permission to do such and such.” Tolerance, on the other hand, respects and loves others while not necessarily endorsing their behavior. In fact, that characteristic is at the heart of tolerance, and this is what God asks you to do.
The other day I had a friend call me to do something for them—I did, as always willing to help if I can. I listened as the person criticized other people in the things they do and I as I listened realized how ones criticism of others is usually a reflection of themselves. I thought to myself you only really call me when you are anticipating a need for help. Tolerance is when one sees the hypocrisy of others—not condoning or endorsing their behavior, yet seeing a need to pray for their deliverance.
Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Romans 2:4