By Mark Bach
Webster defines tolerance as sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own. That definition may be sufficient for some. However, for Christians, especially Orthodox, tolerance means much more. Tolerance involves the most important part of our creed. Tolerance involves God, specifically the Holy Spirit. In that context, tolerance is defined as recognition or celebration of the action of the Holy Spirit in each and every human. Action of the Holy Spirit is different in each person, but in the end, all is the same. All comes from Him!! The Holy Spirit is the crux of tolerance. When we are tolerant, we celebrate beauty of the Holy Spirit.
When we say the Trisagion Prayers, we acknowledge the Holy Spirit, Who are in all places and fill all things. In the prayer for the beginning of the day, we ask God to let us not forget that ALL THINGS are sent by God. Being tolerant is our expression of our remembrance of and commission to our prayers. By tolerating all things, we remember that He is the source of all! If we are not tolerant, we risk not recognizing God! If we are intolerant, we risk being hypocrites.
When we recognize God and celebrate all He – as the Father, the Son and the HOLY SPIRIT – does, we cannot help but be tolerant. Our tolerance helps us remember God and the beauty of all HE does. After all, all things are sent by Him! How could we not be tolerant?!