Day of Tolerance
Cathi Cackler-Veazey of the World Church Diversity and Inclusion Team
United Nations International Day of Tolerance https://www.un.org/en/events/toleranceday/
But the Lord sits enthroned forever,
he has established his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples. -Psalm 9:7-11
A definition of tolerance is the ability or willingness to accept or allow something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
This is a particularly difficult time in our world. The stress that has grown with the many challenges surrounding us today only makes tolerance for others more important. Tolerance is foundational to building strong and healthy communities. When diversity is encouraged and even pursued in communities, they are strengthened and enriched. Tolerance allows diversity to flourish. God created diversity all over the Earth because that is what is needed for survival in plants, animals, sea creatures, and humans.
Tolerance can be difficult when we confront stark differences of opinion with those who we are close to. How many times have you realized that someone you are close to and whose relationship you cherish has a totally different worldview from yours? How do you approach the need to keep the relationship intact while staying true to your beliefs?
Perhaps it is important to consider what the Bible says about tolerance for an answer. Here is a unique way of looking at it by spelling the word.
T Take advantage of Jesus’ example of acceptance and empathy exemplified during his earthly ministry.
O Obey God’s call to love all.
L Love others as you do yourself.
E Encourage others to embrace diversity everywhere.
R Respect all people.
A Accept others’ point of view while seeking to understand their life experience.
N Nothing should separate you from God’s love; love others as God does.
C Constantly be mindful that relationships with others take nurturing, understanding, and listening to their life stories.
E Embrace open dialogues and seek common ground.
We have a natural tendency to think our perspectives and beliefs are the right ones. Our challenge is to meet others with tolerance and understanding, hoping that they in turn will do the same for us. If that happens, tolerance becomes a reality, and communities thrive.
God, help me seek peace for me, peace for us, peace for everyone, and peace for our planet. Amen.
The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.