Sometimes I get really tired of people saying that Christians “just need to be more tolerant and accepting of other people.” I get tired of people saying that “Jesus wouldn’t act like Christians” and a million other variations of the same thoughts. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know there is a lot about Christianity that isn’t perfect, and I know there are a lot of closed-minded, hypocritical Christians in the world. However, I would like to propose this – tolerance goes both ways.
Why is it, as a Christian, that I am supposed to be so tolerant of other people and their beliefs, but seem to have no right to have that same tolerance given to me? How is it that my right to believe in the sanctity of marriage, that life begins at conception, and so many other things are not equal to other people’s right to believe the exact opposite? Why is my monotheism – my belief in one God, the Creator and Author of life, not something that people of other beliefs are asked to tolerate as I am asked to tolerate their views on religion?
Sometimes I feel there is a huge double standard when it comes to tolerance and acceptance. It seems like every time I turn around, someone is saying that “those Christians” need to be more accepting and less closed minded, but as a Christian, I think I should have the same rights and be offered the same respect as other people.
There is no one thing that happened over the weekend to prompt this post. It’s just something that I have been thinking about a lot off and on for years. And today I decided to write about it a little bit. Because, quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being told that I need to be the one to change all the time.
Here are the facts. I am a conservative Christian. I believe that life begins at conception. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe that God created the Earth and all that is in it. I believe Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. I believe that God asks me to be set apart, to be different, to be His. I believe that He asks me to love Him and to love my neighbor. I believe He teaches grace and acceptance and passion and compassion. I believe He hates sin and that disobedience comes with consequences. I believe that, above all things, God loves me and wants my love in return.
Because I believe those things, and only because I believe those things, can I accept that I live in a world shrouded in sin, a world where selfishness and pride are everywhere. And, because of my beliefs, I can be tolerant. I can love and care for people, even if they don’t believe the same things I believe. I can respect differences of opinion and I can accept that not everyone in the world is just like me. I can pray for grace and patience when confronted with things I do not agree with, but I can also choose to love, just love, because that is the ultimate call on my life. I can love people and disagree with them – I just wish that it went both ways.
I’m tired of being told that I am the intolerant one – when I speak my beliefs (or when other honest, humble, loving Christians do the same) we are told we are closed-minded, living a lie, and just don’t get how the world is. We are told we don’t know what love is or how to love. We are told we just need to be accepting. Tolerant. I could say the same thing right back. Maybe it’s time more people were tolerant of Christians. Accepting of our beliefs. Accepting that just because we believe something different than what they believe, it doesn’t make us wrong.
Maybe it’s time to look in the mirror a little more before we so readily judge.