What is your pain threshold? I can tolerate moderate pain up to a certain point, and then I admit, I get whiney! When I had my emergency eye surgery, one of the most difficult parts of that experience was when the very young residents were trying to insert an IV into my dehydrated and invisible veins. They tried eight different locations on my right arm, wiggling and digging the needle around…well, I know I’ve already shared more than some of you want to know or hear about needles!
The ability to tolerate pain varies widely among people and for each person it’s different. I can tolerate pain, but I certainly don’t seek it out or embrace it. I don’t like it and I pretty much avoid it as much as possible. That’s why Jesus doesn’t teach us to “tolerate” our neighbors and our enemies. A world of tolerance means we will put up with our neighbors when we have to…but we won’t seek them out or embrace them. That’s why Jesus doesn’t talk about tolerance…that creates a world that requires fences and walls in order to make good neighbors. Jesus gives us the much harder task. Jesus tells us that we must learn to love them. To embrace and love them all.
“I say unto you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who insult you and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:45)