There’s a popular word that has been going around for quite a while. It’s called “tolerance.” It is the word that “decent” society leans on to promote diversity and accommodate differences in people. While there are many good things that tolerance ushers in, I believe that we, the children of God, have been called to live a higher way. This higher way is patience.
The true kind born out of God’s unconditional love.
Recent events show that there’s a limit to which tolerance can operate and go no further. A person may claim to be generally tolerant, until they encounter a different opinion or way of life that they deem offensive to their belief system or threatens what they perceive to be the right way of life; tolerance then takes a back seat, and it is war. In order words, it doesn’t end well. Patience, on the other hand, doesn’t have to like or fully understand what’s different to display its character.
Tolerance has no standard or bar. Each individual sets the margin for their tolerance level—which borders primarily on what they deem acceptable. But God has a standard which throughout time (and after time has gone) will never change. God has made His mind known, and He won’t change it. Tolerance, on the other hand, is subject to change. What “decent” society may consider tolerable today, may tomorrow be completely unacceptable and appalling, and what was considered intolerable yesterday, may very well become not just acceptable, but the culture of the day. Tolerance is fickle and flawed because its rules and principles are produced from the human mind—which without the help of God, is an unreliable material when it comes to achieving God’s righteousness.
But patience finds its perfection in God.
Patience is a part of God’s righteous whole for which we’ve been set apart for. Tolerance is too small and grossly incapable of equipping the Christian to live a holy life. Patience, already part of the righteous spirit that God put in us when we were reborn, is brought forth by being refined through the fire of trials/temptations. It is pure and powerful, and stands the test of time! Tolerance, unlike patience, is an externally acquired concept.
Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit, has been tested throughout time and has never failed. It is what enables us to endure suffering and persecution without our souls being destroyed and our spirits being quenched. True patience built on the foundation of God’s love, teaches you that it is evil to alienate people who are different from you or don’t agree with you, but rather persuades you to seek understanding that promotes harmony on God’s diverse earth. This patience, when taught to you by God as a discipline, enables you to be unafraid of what is unknown or not understood—whether the unknown is the future or otherwise—but allows peace to be ushered into your soul so that you can endure the period required to learn and adapt to new things, which will eventually turn out for your good and for the good of those around you. This is the character that matures a believer (see Romans 5:1-5)!
Patience is higher than tolerance. It does not respond in fear and does not run. It endures in faith. And we, the children of God, are called to a life of faith, for the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17), and moreover, we cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Therefore, we must be wise and be intentional about choosing to learn God’s patience rather than being carried away by the world’s popular culture of “tolerance.”
About The Editor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, & a Mogul Global Ambassador. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, her journey as an author and her other activities, you can follow her personal website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
The article, Patience Vs Tolerance (Part 1): What Are They Really, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).