What is Tolerance?

I read an article today that makes sense of my past marriage and illustrates the emotional self-reliance that the 12 step group for women teaches.

(I stayed for nearly a decade in my emotionally and sometimes physically abusive  marriage because I misunderstood the principle of Christ-like forgiveness and tolerance.)

In this month’s New Era/Liahona article by Elder Russell Nelson, “What Is Tolerance?” ( see http://lds.org/liahona/2011/03/what-is-tolerance?lang=eng) Elder Nelson writes: “Your gracious tolerance for an individual does not grant him or her license to do wrong, nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed.”

He also offers a note of caution: just as overdoses of needed medication can be toxic, boundless mercy could oppose justice, and “tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness.”

He reminds us that the Savior “drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance.” and adds that “Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence!”

I did not understand this for years.  Maybe I didn’t want to understand it, because it was easier to live with my spinelessness, in the name of forgiveness and tolerance, than to stand up for my own dignity and truth and to be fearless of the consequences of standing up alone.

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