I’m laying (or is it lying) in bed, typing this as I listen to the rain pounding on the window. There’s something comforting to me about storms when I am safe indoors and not out driving in one.

I’ve been thinking about something quite a bit lately. In theory, we’re the most tolerant society, yet in practice we are anything but. We talk a good game about how we tolerate anything and everything, yet wait until someone disagrees with us or spouts a political view that is opposite to what we hold dear and see just how tolerant (or intolerant) we really are.

It’s about maturity. How do you react when you speak your opinions and someone contradicts or criticizes you? How do you take criticism?

Once again, I do not mean that you meekly abide under verbal or physical abuse. I do not mean that you allow someone to berate or insult you and not defend yourself.

I do mean someone who disagrees with your beliefs or convictions. How tolerant are you then?

I confess I don’t like criticism. I may not always show it, but I tend to be defensive and angry when I get told I’m wrong. A lot of people are that way.

Maturity means you don’t always have to agree 100% with criticism, but you can always find some nugget of wisdom there. You can always use the negative comments to spur change for the better within yourself.

It’s one thing to be steady in your convictions, beliefs, and actions, but it’s quite another to live outside of any accountability in a place where no one can ever correct you for a perceived mistake or unwise choice. You need at least one person whom you give the permission to speak into your life, even if that means they can tell you the truth about when you’re out of line.

Maybe we can get to the place where we can actually have an open dialogue and listen to what those on the other side of the debate are actually saying instead of the all-too-common haranguing, name-calling, and demonizing that characterizes much of what goes on in politics and society.

Maybe we can get to the place where we welcome dissenting voices that will challenge us to examine our own beliefs and convict us to live in such a way that our actions match our words.

God help us all.


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