A Tolerant Heart
One of the dearest wishes for all parents of young children is for them to have futures filled with opportunities and happiness. For Christians, our highest calling is to share Christ’s love with all people while engendering this commitment in our children. Together, these motivations create a powerful imperative to work for tolerance and fairness in our society that is impossible for any thoughtful Christian parent to ignore.
Christ has directly implored us to look out through the eyes of a parent who must watch their children be excluded from opportunity, or experience feelings of rejection from society, based on the circumstances of their birth. He asks us to strain to imagine the anguish of trying to adhere to his gospel of forgiveness for injuries not merely against ourselves but against what we hold most precious. While this certainly clarifies the absolute necessity of raising children who work toward a more tolerant world, the sheer weight of the moral, political, economic, and historical issues makes broaching discussions with children, particularly young ones, seem daunting. The most important thing parents should realize is that these discussions will come naturally, but we must continually break through the social, economic, and racial divides around us and pull our children through with us. They will watch us, even if we are sometimes outside of our comfort zones, and learn to break these divides for themselves.
Moments may come when intolerance is displayed in their presence, perhaps expressed by someone they trust and love, and we must be prepared to be courageous and not lose our voices. Of course, Christ’s love is forever redemptive, so children should always be reminded of the hopes we have of achieving more tolerance in every heart. More than anything, we must strive to be kind and welcoming of those we encounter in our everyday lives. This comes more naturally to some parents, and it can often require more of us than we feel prepared to give. It often helps to remember how important these moments are to our children, and to God.