The option for violence always seems to be easier for most people and most nations than the option for peace. If it weren’t I don’t believe there would be so much violence in today’s world. Darfur, South Sudan, Blue Nile, Palestine/Israel, South Korea/North Korea, Afghanistan, the Congo. These are just a few of the current situations around the word involving armed conflict or the threat of such.
In a blog I follow, United Methodeviations by Rev. Dan Dick, he wonders why peace is so hard ( http://doroteos2.com/2013/05/17/why-is-peace-so-hard ). One reason I believe it’s so hard is because people aren’t willing to do the hard work of making peace.
To make peace both sides have to be willing to acknowledge the humanity of the other side and to offer them the respect and civility all human beings created in the image of God deserve. Our own members of Congress here in the United States can’t seem to get past this one and they’re supposedly on the same side and working toward the same goals (think common good here). Little wonder that people at genuine enmity with one another see this as difficult at best and mostly impossible.
In order to make peace each side must be willing to admit their part in the conflict. Neither party is totally innocent. Both have played a part in bringing the situation to the place where peace needs to be made. Each side has harmed the other side in one way or another and until those harmful words or deeds are confessed there will be no peace. But how we seem to loathe to admit any wrongdoing on our part, at least I do. Our pride presses us to hold the imaginary high ground on which we have deluded ouselves into thinking we stand. So we point fingers and hurl unflattering names back and forth, while peace languishes on the sidelines. Then we blame the other for not negotiating in good faith. How our Lord must shake his head and grieve as he watches.
These are just two of the things that make for peace. Much else is required. Peacemaking asks all parties to live and behave as citizens of the kingdom of God. Love God. Love your neighbor. Treat others like you want to be treated. Given the tenets of human nature and the predominant culture those things are hard work. It’s work best done with the help of, and faith in, our Triune God. I, for one, believe the work is well worth the effort.
Let there be peace on earth.