I’ve asked a lot of people if they would like to see peace in the world. They all answered in the affirmative. Everyone I’ve spoken to wants peace – everyone, but when it boils right down to it, a lot of us aren’t willing to do anything differently to have it.
“You mean I can’t say I hate this person, or that culture? I HAVE to try to embrace the world in love? I HAVE to love Muslims, and Jews, and Blacks and LGBTS? FORGET IT! I want peace, but not that way.Of course I want peace, but I want to rip Putin apart with my bare hands, and I want to kill all the Russian soldiers, and Angela Merkle’s an ass, and Obama is a wuss.
We’d have peace if all the Muslims were dead, or adhered to our way of life. We’d have peace if the U.S. would stop pussy footing around, and rid the world of everything and everyone that isn’t us. Ahhh, now you’re talkin’ . . .that’s when we’d have peace.”
When is it finally going to dawn on us that violence can NEVER bring peace? We know this because the world has been at war since the dawn of time, and guess what? We don’t have peace.
When are we going to acknowledge and accept that killing out of fear and ignorance can never bring peace? “Yes,” you say, “but there are madmen out there who are greedy and nasty and evil, and are like being all “Pinky and the Brain.” Yes there are, and yet responding with violence? Still, not working. “Yes,” you say, “but if we don’t fight them, they will take over.” Yes, that is true, but I remind you of Gandhi who defeated an empire with pacifism.
Almost every person in history who has actually spoken out publicly for peace has been murdered, or silenced. Jesus, Becket, Lincoln, JFK, RFK, Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk. I could go on and on. There have been literally thousands of people murdered in the name of peace, and why? Because we won’t or can’t do what is required to achieve it.
So, let’s ask ourselves truthfully. Do we really want peace, or do we want peace only at the expense of others?
We HATE people who speak out for peace. I can attest to this personally! When I’ve advocated for ways (yes, unorthodox or otherwise) of striving t’ords peace, or suggested that we do something to foster it, I’ve been assaulted by retorts such as, “you’re ridiculous,” or “get a grip,” or “you must be living on another planet. I’ve received nothing short of a tsunami of hate. It’s rather ironic isn’t it? To promote peace and receive hate? Sigh … As I cited above, I am certainly not the first to experience resistance to peace, in fact I’m a grain of sand on that beach. Isn’t it time though, no . . .way past time to start resisting war and begin embracing peace?
I know this. Violence doesn’t work. Killing doesn’t work. Trying to obliterate a nation doesn’t work. Trying to kill a religion doesn’t work. Trying to manipulate, cheat, lie, and steal? Doesn’t work! Wanting peace through the use of power and weapons? IT DOESN’T WORK.
I’m reading the New York Times bestseller, The Reason for God – Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. In it he quotes Yale theologian Miroslav Volf, a Croation who has seen his share of violence in the Balkans, saying this:
“If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence – that God would not be worthy of worship…The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only when it comes from God … My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many . . .in the West . . .(But) it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence (results from the belief in) God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die . . . (with) other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.”
Timothy Keller goes on to say:
“In this fascinating passage Volf reasons that it is the lack of belief in a God of vengeance that secretly nourishes violence. Can our passion for justice be honored in a way that does not nurture our desire for blood vengeance? Volf says the best resource for this is belief in the concept of God’s divine justice. If I don’t believe that there is a God who will eventually put all things right, I will take up the sword and will be sucked into the endless vortex of retaliation. Only if I am sure that there’s a God who will right all wrongs and settle all accounts perfectly do I have the power to refrain.”
The world is tired, and many of us are ready for change. We’re sickened at seeing babies and children weeping, or lying dead in the streets. We are tired of trying to drown out the sound of bombs and gunfire. We are exhausted at once again being forced out of our homes. We cry for our sisters who are savagely raped and beaten. We are hungry, desolate, lonely, starving and afraid. So, whether it be a deeper, all-encompassing belief in our God, a willingness to relinquish power and control, less need to be “right,” rather than happy, or just a change in the way we seek peace within ourselves, something must change. Join a peace initiative. Pray. Meditate. Visualize the world enveloped in love.
Am I sounding like a broken record? You bet I am. The only way for things to change is for us to “be the change!” I will continue to pound out the message of peace until it drowns out the sound of war, until it overwhelms the sound of tanks and gunfire, until the outcry for peace finally and forever becomes the dominant voice in our world.
Please . . .join me.