The Commonwealth Games, which have just finished, have a reputation for being the “ friendly” games. Where those taking part compete in a spirit of friendship showing each other tolerance, respect and understanding.
Respect and tolerance are vital in any civilised society, if harmonious relationships are to exist between all of its citizens. So it is important that all of us learn to understand and respect our neighbours, and other members of our local and wider community.
When differences arise - and they will - God clearly instructs us to respond with grace. In its simplest form, grace is patience, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance. More specifically, it is compassion for another's differences.
So often conflicts arise with each other when we don’t understand where the other person is coming from. It helps to try and stand in their shoes for a moment, so that you can see things from their point of view. We may not agree with them but it helps in understanding why we have differences and stops a full blown argument occurring.
One of the most challenging times for us to be tolerant is when faced with somebody who hold views on a on a subject that we feel passionately about, but takes a dramatically different point of view. It’s in these moments more than any other that God calls us to be tolerant. Especially in the face of someone who may be intolerant towards us, when it is doubly difficult to remember to respond with grace
In future, before making a hasty response, snapping or even shouting we would do well to remember Paul’s words:
"Let your speech always be gracious, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." (Colossians 4:6 )