What does it really mean to be tolerant?

Original in German

"Do I really have to forgive 'seventy times seven' in order to be tolerant?" a Sunday School pupil asked his teacher. "Is that so many?" the teacher asked in return. "Spread over seventy years, that means that you'd have to forgive about seven times a year. Christ Jesus surely didn't have a particular number in mind but, rather, that we should always—time and again—forgive" (see Matt. 18:21, 22).

"Being tolerant" is very frequently associated with "always yielding." But does it really have this meaning? In Wahrig's dictionary of the German language we find tolerant defined as "forbearing, yielding, broad-minded, generous." We might think of it as being slow to judge others, expressing more patience and compassion.

And the word tolerance has another application that sheds additional light on this concept.

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Religious broadcasting on radio
May 8, 1995

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