Do you hold yourself to a higher standard than you do others? Sometimes I think I do, and I wonder if I should.
I tell myself I do it out of tolerance, and in an effort not to judge. But do I?
I grew up LDS (from about age 9) in a non-LDS community. Except for my sisters, I was usually the only Mormon in my school, and the older I got, the more divergent my standards (or better said in those early days, my family's standards) were from those of my friends and classmates. Now in the professional world, I work with very few church members, so I am in the same boat.
Even among church members, some of us attend more regularly; some go to the temple more often (and some don't go); some are more consistent about holding Family Home Evening than others, and so on.
My parents never taught me to have friends only in the church. It would have been difficult to do so as I was the only boy my age at church. But even if I had many friends at church, my folks would not have wanted me to isolate myself on some Mormon social island. We have also encouraged our kids to have friends at church and outside the church. We live in a non-Mormon community, but there are more kids my kids' ages at church than I had, and they are fortunate to have good friends there, too. But they also have friends at school who aren't LDS. Some of those friends are religious in their own families and others aren't.
While I know what my standards are, is it fair or reasonable to assume those I associate with will have the same standards? In high school I was fortunate to have a group of friends who, while they did not always share my standards, at least respected them. (The weekend of high school graduation, most handed me a can of Sprite at the door, warning me that the punch was spiked.) My work colleagues are respectful of my choice not to drink alcohol. And they know better than to ask me to go places where I wouldn't take my wife. And many have learned to be more mindful of their language around me (though I've never asked them to).
Some of our children as teenagers have had friends who really pushed my tolerance envelope, however. It almost seems they sought friends who were on the very edge, and I wondered how to respond. (To tell them not to associate with those kids would have been foolhardy; by this time they were old enough to make these choices, and they were making them.) We generally tried to be gracious when these friends came by, and the friends were generally respectful of us when they were in our home. But we worried.
The questions that linger in my mind: how do we teach our children right from wrong, and still teach our children to be tolerant of others? Are my standards higher or just different? We use the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin", but even that phrase smacks of judgment to me. Or is it my place to understand what God expects of ME (and only me) and live accordingly? Is my telling myself that I have higher (or different) standards than others allow me (or force me) to judge others in, even in some passive way? And is that ok or not?
I'm interested in your thoughts and experience.