Tolerance affords us the choice to choose what is in and what is out; what we tolerate and what we don’t. What is better than tolerance is gracefulness. With grace it’s like a way of living. We can choose to take on the cultural layer of gracefulness. By living beneath this layer and allowing it to filter our thoughts and actions, we become far more tolerant and willing to accept people where they are at; regardless of who they say they are; regardless of what they’ve done. Living with grace re-wires our judgement circuitry in a way. We simply can not fully embrace and live by judgement and grace all at once. You can not be graceful if you first feel you need people to justify themselves to you. That is the opposite of gracefulness. That sounds more like conditions for tolerance. To be graceful is to behave as though the justice has already been carried out and justification is no longer necessary.
In a Christian context the very best example of gracefulness comes from the Master. God is graceful. Through Jesus, He is willing to accept you and wash away even the most heinous wrong.
Even without a Christian belief systems, grace still exists and proves itself a better way of living than judgement. Consider the least judgmental person you have ever heard of or known. Consider the most loving and accepting person. Consider the person who will openly take in anyone; sometimes even at their own personal risk. This person you consider is likely quite graceful. This person is also quite Christ-like by the way. Even if they don’t identify with this fact.
Do you choose to take on grace as one of your ways? If so, do you think it shows? How would you know? Here’s a thought. Do you think people understand more about the list of things you accept and tolerate about people, or do they know more about what you reject and hate about people? If the former, you may be quite graceful. If the latter, you simply can’t be considered graceful if your list of issues about people goes on and on.
Choose grace. Accept grace when people extend it to you. Embrace it when you consider others. You will be better for it, and so will the world. It’s what we need.