Tolerance and intolerance PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:47

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Now that we are living in a world that is fast becoming very complicated, with a multiplying variety of mentalities, cultures, lifestyles, ideologies, beliefs, etc., we need to know how to be tolerant and intolerant that is proper to our dignity as persons who are the image and likeness of God, children of his, and who need to love everybody else as Christ himself has loved us.

Obviously, the model for this is Christ himself, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of God, who in his great love for wounded mankind became man himself and assumed all the sins of men by offering his life on the cross even as he was clear about what is the truth about God, about ourselves and everything else in our life.

As we can see in him, he was tolerant with everyone, including especially the sinners, those who are far from him, crippled by their sins. But he nonetheless told them what the truth is in a clear way, but also in a very charitable manner, full of mercy and compassion.

He was, and he continues to be tolerant with all persons, irrespective of their errors and sins, but intolerant with their erring behavior and ideas. But such intolerance was always expressed and accompanied by mercy and compassion. He never resorted to insults, mockery. He was patience personified as he had to be tolerant with his apostles and disciples who had their share of weaknesses and errors.

The only thing that got his goat was the self-righteousness of some people who precisely imposed their own idea of what was right and wrong in a manner devoid of understanding and forgiveness. Rather, these people were full of rash judgments, condescension and arrogance.

Another thing that angered him was when Peter tried to prevent him from fulfilling the ultimate expression of his love by going to Jerusalem to face his eventual crucifixion. “Get behind me Satan,” he told Peter, “you are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt 16,23)

Christ was always open to anything that anyone can think, say or do, and was quite game with it, no matter how wrong that person was. He would go to the extent of asking for forgiveness for those who crucified him. “Forgive them Father,” he said, “for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23,34)

As we tackle the unavoidable differences and conflicts we can have among ourselves, not only in the area of opinions and personal preferences, as in our political views, but also in our beliefs and faith that are supposed to be universally held, and especially when done in our public discourse, we should see to it that

our love for everyone is unshaken even as we try to sort out and resolve our differences and conflicts as charitably as possible.

We need to have a good grip over our emotions and passions, our biases and prejudices which all of us have, as we try our best not only to be rational, but more importantly, to be patient and charitable. Yes, we have to go beyond our sensibilities and rationality. We have to step into the world of faith, hope and charity.

We should not be as concerned about making points, winning an argument, getting the upper hand on a subject matter as we should about keeping charity, mercy and compassion with everyone. Not even a trace of animosity should be found in our heart.

We should try our best that our desire to clarify our position as strongly and as lucidly as possible never falls to the snare of anger, hatred, impatience and hostility. We have to find a way to be properly tolerant and intolerant.

We may need to learn the finer points of tact which should not be a cover for cowardice. We have to learn to be patient and to prefer to suffer setbacks instead of wanting to lord it over others.

Truth and everything good will always prevail, if not now, then later.

We have to learn the art of constructive dialogue, focusing on things that unite rather than getting entangled in divisive aspects of an issue. We need to be sport, always showing good spirit even if we find ourselves in the losing side of an argument.

Obviously, if we find ourselves wrong in a certain position or needing to modify or revise it, we should be humble enough to quickly acknowledge it and do the appropriate correction without much drama.

Let’s pray that we learn the art of tolerance and intolerance properly.