Posted on 29-Sep-2014
Unity is not something easy to achieve. We are all individuals. We have different backgrounds, different personalities, and different preferences. As a result, it is inevitable that conflict will occur.
When we meet with strangers meet, most of us will just tolerate each other. Though the group exists, this is not unity. Tolerance is a virtue. It is saying that you will treat someone else decently, so that they will do the same to you.
To tolerate implies that we see those tolerated as different, and somewhat less acceptable than ourselves. When we only tolerate someone, a feeling of superiority comes along with it. This is not unity.
Acceptance is a step closer to unity. If tolerance is being able to coexist with someone, acceptance would be saying that someone is not only coexist-able, but to willingly accept and approve of him or her without attempting to change anything. To accept a person is to joyously learn and share with that person in humility.
Acceptance cannot exist without tolerance, but tolerance can exist without acceptance. I can sit in a classroom and coexist with 24 other students in the same room, that is tolerance, but no acceptance. Only when I open myself and treat each as a friend does acceptance take place, but tolerance must come first.
To understand someone is to be able to see why that someone makes a decision or choice. To do so, a certain level of knowledge of that person’s background is usually required.
While understanding helps, it is possible to accept and thus tolerate someone without it. The reverse is also true, as it is possible to understanding someone without accepting or even tolerating that someone. For example, understanding why an undercover spy murdered someone, but not tolerating it.
Esprit de corps. Pride in a unit. It is an idea closely related to unity, yet isn’t quite there yet. Such a pride can exist only with tolerance, though a certain amount of understanding usually accompanies it. This is almost, but not true unity.
When acceptance and understanding exists, it is not necessarily unity. A group truly united would not only be able to work together towards a common goal, but would also care for each other, trusting each other to the fullest.
We are called to be united as a church. We are taught to be united as a nation. In order to be effective, we have to be united as The Boys’ Brigade. Unity is still hard to achieve, but why not try to best we can?
Page Created: 29th September 2014
Last Updated: 29th September 2014