By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
The Beatles wrote many songs about love and peace, but ultimately broke up. President Herbert Hoover once said “Peace is not made at the council tables, or by treaties, but in the hearts of men and women.” Benjamin Franklin said “He who would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.” All of us want peace. All of us want harmony and understanding and love. The problem with such noble desires is that they conflict with other less noble desires. For example, we all prefer to have things our own way. We don’t want our privacy invaded. We don’t want anyone to infringe upon our rights. Such notions may be well and good until my rights and freedoms becomes your oppression and injustice.
Most of us in today’s society have been raised to deeply value freedom of choice. Some people tend to, live as if there should be no limits whatsoever to their freedoms and choices. Where does one’s freedoms end in a democratic society? Where does my right to swing my fist end? Where your nose begins… It is so easy for people to get their nose out of joint It is easy for one person or group within this area to offend another person or group. At such times, forgiveness, humility, and active listening are essential to genuine peacemaking.
There was a Jewish fellow many years ago who didn’t like all the fighting and bickering that people did. He stood up for peace and love and forgiveness. As a result, even his friends deserted him as he was mocked and lynched by an angry mob. He died because he was a peacemaker. He died at the hands of amateur politicians who saw him as a disturbance. But before he died, he taught the people “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.”
My prayer for each person reading this article is:
“Make me a channel of your peace …
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News.
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