My Life with God

When We Tolerate Exactly Zero

I will tolerate exactly zero _____ in the comment section…We won’t have it… _____ will be safe on this page now and forevermore. The only thing you are allowed to say to _____ is that they are beloved and previous and adored by the God who dreamed them up.

I get it. We should not be hating on people. It’s so easy to say the harsh words, especially when we’re only typing them with our fingers on our tiny screens and not face-to-face with a person who winces as we spew. I condone no hate. But I struggle with some of these posts, regardless of the content, regardless of whether or not I agree with what’s being said, because it shuts down conversation. It demands a certain kind of response. The desired response matches many people’s chosen response. But the demands of zero tolerance can limit people who are curious and confused. They don’t want to get pounced upon. They don’t want to risk being deleted.

Of course, some people do. They want to push the buttons. They want to stir the pot. They will comment harshly just for the sake of seeing what they can rile up among the others who seem to be responding exactly as prescribed. In my opinion. they fall into the same category of people who spew hate. They shouldn’t be tolerated, but…we don’t always know someone’s intentions.

As a Christian, if I am not tolerant of views that differ from mine, I end up shutting down a lot of people. But I have found it is often the people who angrily come at me (or actually, my faith) that carry some curiosity just below the surface. Defensiveness might reveal some hurts to be healed. Accusations might uncover some assumptions that need a broader experience to test. And if I shut them down, I miss out, and so might they.

It’s challenging to engage with people who intend unfiltered confrontation, and sometimes it’s not wise to do so. However, sometimes it is not wise not to interact. In other words, sometimes it is wise to welcome such hard comments and conversations. Our response exercises our compassion, patience, and humility. It tests our truth and reveals our faith. If we demand what the situation looks like, even if we think we are demanding love and understanding and compassion, we might be doing quiet the opposite.

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