Sunday, March 9, 2014

Judging the Intolerance of Tolerance

I've found myself growing more and more (sensitive? opinionated? arbitrary?) of certain things as I get older...

(people who hang out in the left hand lane, for one.)


But there's one that has made me question who we are... or who we think we are.


A word that holds within the letters it's comprised of the ability to break someone... their spirit, their worth... 


I have become intolerant of intolerance.


in*tol*er*ance;

unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.


I struggle so much lately with the term, itself...


Let's talk this out a little;

We're entitled to our own opinions... check.
We're given the freedom, by law, to voice those opinions... check.
We're allowed to make our own decisions... check.

But here's one more...

We all came into this world the same way... naked, innocent, unknowing... check.

And since we all agree on that simple fact, then there's one more that we agree on, too...

No one was born a hater.

Hatred... intolerance... disapproval...

all learned behaviors.

Whether we learned hatred or intolerance or disapproval from our parents, our environment, or the circumstances of our lives...

we weren't born hating or disapproving of someone else's color or race or choices or lifestyle.

Right?

This is the part of living in the South that I have struggled with the most...

here in the 'Bible Belt'.

Intolerance and judgements flow too easily and too freely here... feelings regarding race or color or mental capacity or disabilities or lifestyle... somehow, there's a sense of entitlement that lingers in the background of too many conversations and in the hearts of too many people.

Words like 'nigger' and 'retarded' and 'fag' and 'queer' and 'bastard' and 'whore' and even the 'less harsh' words like 'stupid' and 'dumb' and 'slut' are acceptable... accepted.

Those words weep with hatred.

And in all of my intolerance of intolerance, I've realized that what I'm most intolerant of....

is tolerance.

tol*er*ance;

the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or 

behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.




It sounds backwards, I know. 

Here's the thing...

We have managed to turn 'intolerance' into a positive term because we've given ourselves the opposite to make us feel better. 

Stick with me...

It doesn't sound as 'socially accpetable' to publicly claim your intolerance of someones gay lifestyle... so instead, you advertise your tolerance of that lifestyle.

You let them pass your test... your tolerance test.

NOT your acceptance of it... your tolerance of it.

"I don't agree with you... but I'll tolerate being around you (working with you, sitting next to you, letting my child play with your child, etc)."


vs.

"I don't agree with you... but I love who you are more than the temptation to be responsible for loving the choices that you make or the lifestyle that you live. What you believe and the choices that you've made are responsible for making you who you are...  I accept your life and the choices you've made because I love you."

See the difference?

When did we, as a human race, decide that it's our born right and responsibility to claim tolerance of someones lifestyle or race or mental capacity??

I'm not okay with this, friends...

And you wanna know something else?

Christian are the worst ... at being intolerant AND tolerant.

And that makes me sad. 

Christians claim to have received the unconditional, everlasting love of the Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Judge... but we've taken the role of Judge upon ourselves. 

And in doing so, we have proven our intolerance.

We say... "The Bible says that it's a sin to be gay."

The Bible says "The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality...."
(1 Timothy 1:10)

But we like to stop there because the next part is where we come in...

"... enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine."
(1 Timothy 1:10)

Maybe that describes you... maybe not. But there's more...

"...neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers."
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Idolatry, taking the Lord's name in vain, honoring your Father and Mother, murder, adultery, stealing, gossiping, lying, cheating, jealousy...
(Exodus 20)

So yeah...

We're awesome.

Someone you want to be judged by, for sure.

 'For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.'
(James 2:10)

As the saying goes, 'one sin isn't greater than another." And in all of my research, this saying is consistent with everything I have found in God's Word.... in the Bible. The consequences of one sin versus another can vary greatly... but the sins, themselves? No matter how they're portrayed or played out? The way they'll be judged at Heaven's gates? The same.

Yet we still like to argue that murder is worse than telling a lie... being gay is worse than gossiping... cheating on your wife is worse than being jealous of your friend.... having intercourse before you're married is worse than oral sex before you're married... being a single mom or placing your baby for adoption is worse than marrying someone that you don't even love...

 What has happened is that we've decided that we're capable and allowed to judge others'... Bible verse-proven, or not. 

Us.

Christians.

It makes us feel better to think that we could be 'better' than someone else... that what we do couldn't possibly be as bad as what someone else is doing...

and so we've become intolerant.

And in our intolerance, we've turned 'tolerance' into a 'simpler form' of our intolerance...

when tolerating or not isn't even our responsibility.

When you look for antonyms to 'intolerant', you find broad-minded, unbiased, unprejudiced...

tolerant.

And that sounds great!

But... have you ever looked for the antonym to 'judge'?

Try it.

Now.

I mean it....









There isn't one.

Because there isn't an antonym to 'God'.

And His Word simply states that we aren't Him... we aren't perfect or immortal or flawless... we don't know the future, we can't read people's minds, and we aren't responsible for judging others.


And at the end of the day, all that should do is lighten our load a little.

My hope is that we can find a way to raise this upcoming generation of tomorrow's 'judges' to understand one simple thing...

'God doesn't love you more...

but that means that He loves you the same.'


As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 14: 1-4




3 comments:

  1. Love this. As a Mormon mother of a gay son this has bothered me too. You said it so well. WE are to do as Jesus did and just Love . Thanks for your insight and courage to post it !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brain changes begin in the womb. Alcohol at certain stages of development can cause fetal alcohol syndrome; stress hormones may make the child more likely to develop mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia. The sexualisation of the brain also begins in utero. I'm commenting on this because I love the way you have said tolerance is not enough. And wanted to add that I feel homosexuality is something people are born with and is the natural state of their brain due to hormone levels during their mother's pregnancy. It is not a lifestyle choice but how they were created.

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  3. So, are gays living a lifestyle, a choice, or don't have a say in the matter

    ReplyDelete

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