Acceptance and tolerance are major buzz words in our culture today. People are crying out for others to accept them and for others to be tolerant of their behavior.
While acceptance and tolerance are paramount to a healthy society, we must be vigilant and prudent about what actions and concepts we accept and tolerate.
How do we do this? Certainly the Bible provides us with some good framework for what actions and concepts should be accepted and tolerated. The Catechism does a beautiful job of laying out specifics on some complex issues that require further clarification.
Yet many do not place themselves under the authority of the Bible or the teachings of the Church. Even within the Church, confusion, ignorance, and misunderstanding can complicate things. So naturally we’ll all come to the table with different ideas about what should be accepted and tolerated… if we come to the table at all.
Let’s be clear, shall we? As Christians, we are called first to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and second to love others.
For a beautiful description of the importance of loving God first and others second, please see Fr. Winslow’s article, “The Greatest Lie.”
Loving others doesn’t mean we need to be silent all the time when things are controversial. Rather, when much is at stake, true love compels us to speak up.
Love does not mean we should just tell people everything they’re doing is okay. Sometimes what people do is really not okay. Loving someone then means speaking up, even and especially when it is difficult. True love will shine a flashlight ahead to show someone they are on a wrong path.
Love does not mean that we always will agree with others. Sometimes we will disagree, and if we do this respectfully, seeking to understand one another’s viewpoints, we can grow stronger together. True love will take the time to listen and will have the courage to attempt to explain.
Love does not mean that we allow others to expose our families and children to coercion or social grooming that will contradict the morals and values we hold at the center of our lives. True love will be on guard, standing firm in the faith.
Love doesn’t mean we stand idly by and watch as people walk into abortion clinics and discard lives (or whatever other euphemism people may insert) because they believe it’s their choice. Love doesn’t mean we stand idly by and watch as people melt away from addiction, anorexia, depression, or pornography. True love will try to hold someone back who is staggering to slaughter.
True love cannot be silent in the face of social confusion. Too much is at stake. And the most beautiful Divine Mercy is waiting for everyone.
P.S. God is merciful & He loves you… no matter what.