Respect/Dignity Tolerance/Acceptance more than just word choice…

Posted: April 29, 2012 by Ty in Current Events, Musings, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It has been a unique week in coming to understand the English language, and that there are many words that we may believe are interchangeable at first blush but actually go to a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals and as a community.

The first two are respect and dignity. Well it is important to respect others, and ourselves obviously to have a healthy community it also allows for something negative to creep in. We can respectthe person experiencing poverty or the differently abled yet still hold that we know best to get them out of their circumstance (the charity model if you will). While Dignity is something deeper, it is more than just respect, it is seeing the other individual as a Christ-bearer as well, who has autonomy and authority within their own lives for their own choices.

The other two words are tolerance and acceptance.

Yes as a multi-cultural society we are taught to “tolerate” another’s beliefs, cultural idioms or actions.  Yet this is like respect, it is still surface level and can leave us with smugness of our rightness, that only we have the full authority or understanding to direct life.  This is bullocks.  Essentially acceptance is also realizing the other, like us, is a Christ-bearer and as such their way of life is just as valid as ours is.

The caveat being that actions need to be redirected or corrected within the context of a loving, supporting, and healing community when such actions cause harm to self, and/or others. Some examples of this would be domestic violence, addictions, honour killings, pedophilia, eating disorders, untreated mental health conditions…

Yet even these hurdles need to involve the communtiy coming around to heal with one another and the self.

So you see this journey with Christ is about respect and tolerance, but that is the beginning stepping stone to true disciple making, for the next step is into Dignity and Acceptance.  From there? Only God knows where we are heading…


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