Peace, peace but where is peace?
FRET NOT because God loves you (1 John 4:16)
FAINT NOT because God holds you (Ps. 139:10)
FEAR NOT because God keeps you (Ps.121:5).
In this age when humans seem to be slowly degenerating into beasts, it seems that peace is as elusive as ever. Everyone talks about peace. Everyone wants peace. In fact, we even pray for peace when we are in church, like true Christians, although once outside we are something different altogether. Sometimes something worse. But why is it that every time we talk about peace and order, there is war, violence and criminality?
Peace is elusive because we are not committed to seeking it. Or we are pursuing the wrong kind of peace-the kind of peace that comes from the principle of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
Peace is elusive because of worsening moral standards, corruption and the lack of political will among our government leaders and in society in general. It is elusive because of the government's anti-people laws, policies, rules and regulations. All these have contributed to and promoted an anti-peace culture, the culture of death and violence and the reign of fear.
What then is the kind of peace that we should pursue?
The Holy Book gives us the answer. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God said: "People shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." (Isaiah, 2:4).
Other passages in the Bible offer us not only alternatives on how to attain peace but also hope:
* "You shall not kill." (Ex. 20:13; Deut 5:17)
* "Keep far from the man who has power to kill, and you will not be filled with the dread of death." (Sir. 9: 13)
* "No matter the wrong, do no violence to your neighbor." (Sir. 10:6)
* "I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violence." (Jer. 15:21)
* The Sermon on the Mount (The Beatitudes) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." (Mt. 5:9)
* Teaching about retaliation. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him as well." (Mt. 5:38-39)
* Mutual Love. "Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." (Rom. 12:19)
* "Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good." (Rom. 12:21)
* "Be on guard and take care never to accompany men of violence." (Sir. 13:13)
What do some biblical commentators say? "The message of Jesus, as I understand it, is contained in the Sermon on the Mount ... It is that Sermon which has endeared Jesus to me," wrote Mahatma Gandhi. "A good many Jews can repeat that statement just as sincerely as they can accept Gandhi's subsequent criticism: 'The message, to my mind, has suffered distortion in the West ... Much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount."' (Pinchas Lapide, "The Sermon on the Mount.")
Without internalizing and concretizing all these into our eroding culture, peace will always be elusive.
Truly, it is only in God that we can find peace.
Dr. Michael Bengwayan is the director of Project PINE TREE/ITAG. He is also a fellow of Echoing Green Foundation, New York. New York, USA
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|Title Annotation:||peace & spirituality|
|Author:||Bengwayan, Michael A.|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2003|
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