Tolerance is the quality of allowing or accommodating without protest or rancour the behaviour, beliefs, customs or views of others that differ from ours. Tolerance implies the existence of differences which we have to learn to accommodate. For, though we may not agree entirely with other persons, we should recognise the fact that they are entitled to their own opinions. Even if their views differ from ours, tolerance enables us to be at peace with them. It makes for a fulfilled Christian life to the glory of God.
Text:“And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” - Luke 9:53-56.
Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher that has ever lived on earth. He taught his disciples tolerance by precept and by example. As could be seen from the text, the Apostles James and John asked Jesus Christ whether they should call for fire to come down from heaven to destroy the Samaritans because they were angry at the cold treatment given to Jesus Christ. The way the two disciples reacted was out of tune with the grace brought by Jesus Christ. He therefore had to correct them sharply. Again the fact that the disciples asked for the ultimate punishment to be invoked on the Samaritans showed marks of the age-long prejudice between the Jews and Samaritans. But knowing that the hostility between the two nations was based on ignorance Jesus did not condone such an attitude. Rather he rebuked the two disciples saying that his mission was to save, not to destroy lives. It is the devil who has pleasure in the deaths of people.
Truly God “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. (2 Peter 3:9) The example of tolerance shown by our Lord Jesus Christ should guide our attitude to non-believers and to each other.