The word "tolerance" often carries a negative connotation—as "willingness to agree with falsehoods." In our world, tolerance frequently devolves into a game with no clear winner. Christianity faces—especially in the U.S., Europe, and to a lesser extent in Russia—an ideology and worldview that are incompatible with it. This ideology is often labeled as "liberal" or "progressive," and its characteristic traits involve the aggressive promotion of phenomena that, from a Christian standpoint, constitute grave sins.
When Christians criticize such policies, they are accused of "intolerance" and even "hatred." In this context, "tolerance" is equated with full and unconditional compliance with an ideology that no faithful Christian can endorse.
This hinders the understanding of true tolerance—tolerance as a virtue. Yet, it is an important virtue. It's close to Christian qualities like gentleness, patience, and love for one's neighbor.
The world is full of people who vehemently attack falsehood and evil—and often these attacks are directed at genuinely wicked things. Like movie heroes who fight and defeat villains, they believe that fighting for good means launching furious attacks against evil.
This is an error that's easy to fall into—we can all too easily fall into anger and rage. When opposing evil, people often fail to notice that they are siding with an even greater evil. The belief in one's own righteousness—after all, I'm fighting against an undeniable evil!—greatly diminishes a person's ability to evaluate their own actions. This applies from both a moral perspective and from a standpoint of common sense and basic effectiveness—what can you truly achieve by acting this way?
We are not called to fight evil. The expedition we're on is a rescue mission, not a punitive one. We fight for the salvation of people. This means not fighting against misguided or deluded individuals, but for them. Tolerance is not about our stance on false and destructive beliefs, which, of course, we cannot and should not endorse. Tolerance is about our stance toward people. As the Apostle says, "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
We are called to approach those who are misguided with kindness and friendliness, to maintain communication with them, to uphold human connections—so that we can gently and patiently bear witness to the truth, imitating God, who "is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Original article: https://radiovera.ru/o-hristianskoy-terpimosti.html