“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
We find ourselves in an increasingly divisive time in history and it can be extremely difficult to know how to deal with all of the negativity without letting it overwhelm you. One of the British values is “mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.” The definition for tolerance is; “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.” I struggle with that word tolerance as in my mind it implies simply putting up with the other. Jesus when he was alive modelled radical acceptance of those who were excluded from society, he went beyond mere tolerance and celebrated these people. Lunch with a traitorous tax collector, allowing a prostitute to touch him, touching lepers these were all things you didn’t do with people you most certainly shouldn’t associate with. So I propose that we too ought to seek to go beyond mere tolerance towards acceptance and celebration of those who think differently to us. As we approach people with this outlook we might find out that they aren’t that different and that they have much light, wisdom and life to share with us.
God, it can be so easy to see all the differences between ourselves and other people and allow these barriers to become permanent and impassable. We pray that you by the work of your spirit would begin to break these barriers down and give us eyes to see and cherish our common humanity. May we all realise more fully our identity as made in your image. Amen.