Tolerance is Not the Answer

Everybody is now aware that another young person recently took his own life after being outed as gay and publicly humiliated. This type of thing is becoming far too frequent (once is way too much). To further the tragedy, it seems like conservative voices are often far too quiet at times like these.

What is the answer to this massive and probably growing problem? Is it tolerance? It seems to me like tolerance is learning to live with and respecting people that are different than you…people you disagree with. But is it really any different that ‘putting up with’ them?

Will tolerance really change anything? I’m skeptical.

There are some things that I believe that have changed my heart. Things that hopefully will prevent me from ever treating anyone the way that that young man was treated.

I believe that every single human being on the planet is created in the image of God. Whatever that means precisely, it certainly means that what we share in common is much more than anything that makes us different. It means that life is precious and to be honored and respected. Nobody deserves to be abused and harassed.

I believed that those students who picked on their fellow students are sinners. I believe that the student who took his life was a sinner. I believe that I am a sinner. To say this is not to be overly negative toward anybody, but simply to say that we all mess up – often. For some reason we see the other guy’s sin as bad and ours as okay. That’s the way we deceive ourselves. We make it into us and them. He’s bad and I’m good. Oh, what self-deception we practice.

I believe in and follow Jesus. I follow the one who was picked on, beat up and abused. Who was killed and yet loved his killers. Jesus was the only who who was wholly innocent, and yet gave up his innocent life for all of us.

I don’t want to tolerate those who are different from me. I want to love them.

You can’t follow Jesus and hate anybody.

That’s the only real solution to the problem I know of…

Author: Dan Masshardt

Husband, Father, Pastor...

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