Love is a better concept than tolerance

| April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Matt McCraney
3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division


We live in a divided, polarized world: Democrat vs. Republican, religious vs. nonreligious, Mac vs. PC.

Every night on the news, the polarized nature of our society is played out before our eyes as fights erupt, debates ensue and very little is accomplished.

And through it all, we are told that tolerance is the way to go. Everyone just needs to learn a little tolerance.

In my opinion, tolerance is a horrible concept to apply to human beings.

Seriously, stop and think about the word it’s derived from, and use it in a sentence related to a human being: “Hey neighbor, I tolerate you.”

No, I tolerate going to the dentist. I tolerate standing in line at the DMV. I tolerate romantic comedies. We use the word tolerate most often to describe things we live with that we really hate.

Tolerance suggests that, while we are disgusted by a person with an opposing view, lifestyle or appearance, we must pretend to accept them. Tolerance fails to address the heart of the concern, but rather dresses up an ugly thought about another person. This concept has not alleviated the polarization in our society.

Might I suggest another word that would better suit us in these contentious debates of our time: love.

Love is a verb, not a warm fuzzy feeling. Love is a choice one makes regarding another person.

Why is love a better concept to apply to our debates and disagreements?

Love does not require that we all believe the same thing. Love does not require us to all look, act or think identically. Love simply demands that we treat each other with respect and as we would like to be treated ourselves.

Love forbids us from demeaning others with ad hominem attacks or ostracizing people for having opposing views. Love allows for differences in opinion and honest debate, whereas tolerance simply does not.

Love gives us permission to strongly disagree with each other in debate, but does not permit us to secretly hate one another for not seeing things the same way. Love lets us proudly state our deepest-held conviction and strongly disagree with others without poisonous discourse, because we ourselves would not want to be on the receiving end of it.

Let’s learn to love those that disagree with us rather than tolerate them. Let’s appreciate them for who they are and treat them as we would like to be treated.

Tolerance has not really moved the ball forward. It’s time for a different strategy.

(Note: Proudly written by a Mac-user on a PC.)

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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