How I Walk the Line - Tolerance

March 20, 2011
As a person, I want friends. I want to be with people I like, and people that like me back. I don't want to have walls or obstacles between me and someone, it makes our relationship harder.


As a Christian, I want Christian friends. I have friends who aren't, and we get along. I just don't bring up subjects that would make conversations awkward. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I should.


In this wonderful country of ours, the United States of America, we have rights and freedoms. I don't want to impede on someone's rights or freedoms. I'm sure you know which particulars ones I'm talking about. I mean freedom of speech and of religion. As a person belonging to a religion, I really do respect others' religions. I really do. Not agreeing doesn't mean hating or disrespecting, and I think sometimes Christians can get a little carried away on this subjects. Or even a lot carried away.


I know that I've commented on so many articles and pieces here, and I go back and read those comment sometimes. I see that many times I'm my more conservative self, rather shy or meek even. But other times, I've gone into a bit of a rant. I read those comments and I think, "Wow. That kinda sounds like I'm yelling at the person." I don't want to do that. I would not appreciate it if someone did that to me, and God says, 'Do Unto Others as you would have them do to you.' Just like every Christian, I struggle with this rule, and break it so many times. Even in this piece here, I might get a little carried away, so please forgive me if I do. I'm trying to state my opinion clearly, without sounding like I believe I'm the absolute authority on this subject, because I don't think that.


Now to be moving on. I titled my piece to be about tolerance. Oh, that word is so tricky for me. I've read other opinion on the subject, and I've never agreed exactly with anyone, from their varied backgrounds. So I finally figured, why not write it down and put it out there? Please know that I am only 17, and this is what I think at this point in my life. I will probably have changed my opinion in another year or two years. I wrote a piece on dating and put it up here, and also on Facebook. I got so many comments from my friends that my opinion has already changed some, or a better word might be expanded.


Here's what goes on in my head when I think about tolerance: 1) Christians really shouldn't have any tolerance. 2) Wait, not any? Maybe it's just that we shouldn't follow others and keep in our beliefs. 3)What kind of tolerance to I practice? And is that good enough? 4) Do I really think tolerance is important for myself as a Christian? 5) I don't want to cause any upsets in my friendships.


I think that tolerance for a Christian means "hating the sin, not the sinner." However, this view comes across as just plain hate to many people. In the world, Christian are probably viewed as the least tolerant, but if you look from out perspective, everyone who thinks we're intolerant, is in fact intolerant of our supposed intolerance. Yes, kind of a confusing sentence and you can go back and read it again if you want. I probably would, if I was reading this. In my life, I practice a very wavy tolerance. To translate, I mean that my tolerance levels go up and down, depending on what it is I'm supposed to not tolerate.

This subject has been bouncing around in my head for a while, but I'm finally going to just write down the files I've got sorted out in my brain right now. I wish I were more intolerant. Seriously. I'm ridiculously tolerant with my friends and more intolerant with my family. I'll start with religious tolerance. I teach two ASL classes at a homeschool group on Fridays, and I have Jehovah's Witness's and Catholics. I'm neither, and truthfully, I don't much like either of their beliefs. But the people themselves are so nice! There's a Muslim family in the group too. They are the most friendly people ever! I love them. But I very much disagree with their beliefs.


So does being intolerant mean that I should not hang out with them at all? I think that it doesn't. As long as I am not swayed in my beliefs, as long as my Muslim friend will not try to convince me of anything, I know my friendship with her is okay. If the subject of beliefs came up, I know we would disagree with a lot of things, but that has to be okay too. It's what I choose for myself.


Tolerance of other choices, like homosexuality. I'm completely against both. Maybe I meet a very nice person, but they're gay or lesbian. I will not hate that person, but I will always hate what they choose to do. Same with my Muslim friend. I love her, but I hate her religion, or maybe it's put even better this way: I hate that she chooses to believe in it.


But that's because I'm a Christian, and I should not tolerate other beliefs. So I don't, but I do tolerate the people who believe them. I'm not sure why, but I thought of this song while I was writing this, so I'll put the words here. It's called: What This World Needs by Casting Crowns.

What this world needs
Is not a one-hit wonder with an ax to grind
Is not a two-bit politician peddling lies
Is not a three-ring circus society

What this world needs
Is not some sign-waving super saint that's better than you
Is not an ear-pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Is not a prophet in an Armani suit

What this world needs
Is a savior who will rescue
A spirit who will lead
A father who will love them
In their time of need
A savior who will rescue
A spirit who will lead
A father who will love
That's what this world needs

What this world needs
Is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change her heart before he changes her shirt
What this world needs
Is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free





Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

AnonymousFatty said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 10:49 am
In the 4th paragraph I think you accidentally said it was "God" who said that.
 
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm
Nope, it wasn't an accident.  Sure, it's the Jesus(Son)part of God, but that's still God.
 
peace_love_beauty said...
Mar. 31, 2011 at 11:03 am
Oh wow. I really like this article, and very much agree with you on a lot of your points. I try to be very tolerant of others' beliefs and thoughts and let them think the way they want to, like you said, "hate the sin, not the sinner"
 
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm
Thanks so much!  I still would go back and rewrite some of this...I do that for all my pieces.
 
The_Sharpie_Fairy said...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm
I get where you're coming from on this, somewhat I think anyway, and I believe that overall, it was very well worded and written.  I think that you put a lot of time into writing this, and have put even more thought into this subject.  Tolerance is a tricky subject for many, whether they're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Athiest, or all-together undecided.  For you to know where you stand on it, or at least close to where you stand is a good thing.  Even if it changes, as long as... (more »)
 
TheJust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 8:51 am
I really like this. Maybe you could revamp it a little and explain why you believe the way you believe. Give some Bible verses which explain why you choose to "hate the sin, not the sinner." It will make it more powerful! :)
 
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