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Applying commom sense to everyday life.

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A working man's guide to words
that are
commonly misunderstood.
Generally means:
A term that, when used in social circles, means to rule on the merits of who someone is or what they have done.  There are two important implications in this definition: first, the person rendering the judgment is somehow superior to the person being judged, and second, the judgment rendered is offensive to the person being judged.  (If the ruling was favorable, it would be considered a compliment, not a judgment).

The following is an important consequence of this definition.  For those who believe that truth is "relative", (your truth isn't the same as my truth), there is a tendance to say something like "your judgment has no basis and you are just being hurtful, so be quiet.  After all, who are you to say what's right and what's wrong?"  The admonishment (don't judge) is usually used shut down objections to what's being said or done.

What it does not mean:
It does not mean that we should be quiet just because someone's feelings might be hurt. 
When we see our friends hurting themselves, we need to speak up, for their sake.  Also, for the sake of society, we are obliged to judge people every day, regardless of their feelings.  We have to put people in jail for driving while drunk, for killing innocent people, and for using illegal drugs. 

Generally means:
 A term applied to the practice of not persecuting those who believe or behave differently from what we approve.  By implication, it means that we have a power to punish someone but choose not to.

What it does not mean:
It does not mean that we either accept or approve everything that we tolerate.  While we tolerate other religions and cultures, we don't necessarily believe that all religions or cultures are equally good. 
Also, while we tolerate different lifestyles, we don't necessarily believe that all lifestyles are equally good.
Finally, the word doesn't imply that "tolerance" is without limit.  Obviously, there is never any tolerance for drunk driving, for killing innocent people, or for undermining the safety of our country.