Tolerating tolerantly

Jesus talks of us being salt and light in the world. That said, as John Wesley pointed out in his sermon on salt and light, some people, normally those with something to lose if an injustice is corrected, will take pains to prove that the light is darkness. How often have you heard the term “do-gooder” used in a derogatory way? But what would be the opposite of that – a “do-badder”; a “do-nothinger”?

We need more tolerance in society. Sadly, being tolerant about something seems to be interpreted these days as putting up with something in a grudging way.  Yet the Cambridge Dictionary definition of tolerance is a willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them. There’s a respect aspect of toleration which means we overcome the paradox of intolerant toleration and instead tolerate tolerantly.

Prejudice is still allowed a place in our contemporary society because too often we fail to shine a light on injustices. When our prayers in the face of injustice appear to go unanswered, is it because God is saying we’re complicit by being ‘do-nothingers’, we’re not being the lights of the world God, through Jesus, calls us to be?

Published by Angie Allport

Methodist minister

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