The Undue Burden of Tolerance

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Tolerance and acceptance are not the same.

Loving someone goes beyond the proverbial walls and barriers that mere acceptance sometimes creates. I can love someone, but that does not in any way equate to me having to ACCEPT everything that they do or say, or for that matter, the choices that they make. They have their life and free agency, and I have mine. Each of us has the right to believe as we so choose, and we must learn to respect one another in that regard.

God knows my true heart, which is really all that matters, but I hold no malice or ill will towards any person for any reason. I love all humanity, therefore, I love all people as my brothers and sisters, but we will each have to realize that our levels of acceptance are not necessarily the same. That is one of many things that makes each of us unique people.

To love someone does not mean that we roll over and play dead to appease that person, especially when the act of accepting certain things goes against the very fibers of our own morals and standards.

I will agree to a point that tolerance and love can go hand in hand. For if we truly love someone, we learn to tolerate certain things that may grate on our nerves, or things which the person whom we love defines differently. What I will say, however, is that tolerance does have its limits. If we truly love someone then there is a matter of give and take involved. The persons involved in the relationship must express sensitivity to those things which are intolerable and commit to making some changes to avoid undue strife and contention, and to help the relationship grow. One person cannot be expected to bear the brunt of the oftentimes heavy load of tolerance, each person must share the load equally.

I will also say that there are times when people tie love and tolerance together to give grounds for having their way in all things, regardless of how the other person feels. For example, a person may say, “If you really love me, you would tolerate the things that I do even though you don’t agree with me.” That is not tolerance. That is being selfish and totally insensitive of the other person.

Furthermore, tolerance is not necessarily equated to acceptance. I humbly believe that is where so many people are getting off track. They are trying to live by the proverbial equations that state: (1)Tolerance = Love, and (2) Love = Acceptance; therefore, their conclusion is that Tolerance = Acceptance. That is a fallible assumption. Case in point, I grew up during the thick of the Civil Rights Era. My family and I tolerated many things, oftentimes for the mere sake of survival or trying to live peaceably in society. That does not by any stretch of the imagination equate to us having accepted all the things.

I can love a person, but that love does not mean that I will accept all that they say or do, or even the choices that he or she makes. Nor does my tolerance of certain things equate to my total acceptance of said things.