Three days ago I received some medical news that completely alters the future of my life. I have been living with lupus for over 12 years now, and I thought that I understood how my condition affected me. I now am adjusting to a new reality, and it is hard to know exactly how to put one foot in front of the other when the path of my life is leading me down a road I'd rather not travel.
I'm a pragmatic person, and despite feeling the wind knocked out of me, papers need to be written, meetings need to be had, finals need to be taken, and packing for CPE needs to begin. I am in a state of tolerance with my health. I am tolerating the fact that I am angry and frustrated because despite having my health put limitations on me, I still have a full life with very full responsibilities.
There is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. We tolerate things that are frustrating. We tolerate things that are challenging. We tolerate things that are less than. This is vastly different from acceptance. We accept our limitations and find ways to work around them. We accept our differences so that we can grow together. We accept things because in acceptance there is an acknowledgement of worth.
Right now, I am not accepting how my health is affecting my future life goals. I am tolerating it. I can still move forward with tolerance, but it is not as full or rewarding as the progress made with acceptance.
When we think about other areas of our lives where people use "tolerance" and "acceptance" language, which do you choose? Do you tolerate the dominating personality in the classroom, or do you accept them? Do your race relations come out of a place of acceptance, or merely tolerance? Do you think we should tolerate LGBTQ unions, or accept them as equal to a heterosexual union?
Both lead to progress. Both lead to a brighter future for our tomorrow. But which word is the word that speaks more to the gospel of Christ, tolerance or acceptance? Are we forgiven for our sins because we are tolerated as being victims of a fallen humanity, or because we are accepted despite being a broken person?
Right now, I am in a state of tolerance, but with God's grace, I hope to move to a place of acceptance.