The way of peace-A A +A
The Good News
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
WITH the world celebrating the International Day of Peace tomorrow, September 21, it becomes very timely to reflect on this universal yet sometimes evasive human aspiration called peace.
Peace is tranquility of the human spirit. It is not only the absence of conflict but the freedom from fear of violence. It is harmony of man, first with himself, then with the larger world outside -- with his family, community, nation and the whole of human race.
Peace is what God envisioned us to have and to enjoy. He created man in his image and likeness. He created the world and everything in it, and pronounced everything as “good ” (Genesis 1). And he came that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).
But why is there so much suffering in this world? Why are so many people addicted to vices that rob them of their inner peace? Why do people hurt each other? Why do people kill each other in the name of religion, freedom, sovereignty, justice, and ironically, peace? Why do nations since time immemorial tried so hard to annihilate each other in war?
The answer is simple: man departed from the way of God. The way of God is the way to peace; therefore, refusing to follow his way and travelling through another path is a step away from peace and a move towards strife, hostility and violence. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Only by journeying through the Godly path can we ever experience lasting personal and communal peace. The journey, however, is not easy. It demands a radical change in our ways of thinking and feeling. Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
The world’s way is for one to seek honor, power and praise -- very much like the mother of Zebedee’s sons, requesting that his two children be seated beside Jesus in his throne, one on the left and one on the right (Matthew 20:21). God’s way, on the other hand, is servant leadership, washing each other’s feet (John 13). The world’s way is to amass great wealth; God’s way is to store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:20). The world’s way pursues the sinful desires sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like, but God’s way produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:19-22).
To top it all, the world’s way demands an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth -- you hurt me, I will hurt you; you stepped on me, I will step on your attitude. Not so with God. God’s way is rooted in love -- loving God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27).
Only by God’s way of love can hatred be conquered. Only in Godly love can there be true peace on earth.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 20, 2012.