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The Price of Peace

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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Imagine with me:  what does world peace look like?  Is it simply the absence of war?  During the Cold War, a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) worked to keep the world at relative peace.  Is that what we need?  What about policies like containment, isolationism, diplomacy and peace treaties, or…a One World Government?

 

Maybe you think the answer is that we pull our troops out of Iraq, make nice with Kim Jong Il, or let Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blow Israel off the face of the globe.

 

There are lots of people crying for peace.  We hold peace rallies, peace marches, peaceful protests, hunger strikes and fund raisers, political elections; all to call attention to the one thing everybody wants but nobody can fully comprehend.

 

I would love to live in a world of peace.  But, am I – are you - really willing to pay the price? 

 

All the peace activism in the world is not going to work because peace is an effect, a condition, the result of one action – and that action is love.

 

Love.

 

Whether you regard him a philosopher, a teacher, or God, Jesus summed it up in one line:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  Maybe you don’t want to hear about what Jesus said.  How about another philosopher, John Lennon, “All you need is love.”

 

Love. 

 

Sounds a little corny, does it?  What does that mean, anyway, love my neighbor as I love myself?  What if I don’t love myself?  After all, I’m not pretty enough, fit enough, rich enough, smart enough, not fill-in-the-blank enough. 

 

The truth is that we all love ourselves more than we realize and every decision we make in our day is based on loving ourselves first, others after that, and God if there is time.

 

In John 15:13, Jesus said something like this:  “Greater love has no man than this: that a man give up his life for his friends.”

 

Few of us will ever find ourselves in a position to physically die for a friend.  But there is a practical application to what he said that is even more offensive to us than the word love:  that is submission. 

 

Submission has been long regarded a dirty word.  To willingly submit – especially to someone you don’t like - is so contrary to human nature that the very thought causes a tightening in our guts, a rising of our shackles. 

 

What does ‘submission’ really mean?  Do we lie down and let people walk all over us?  No.  Submission means looking out for another’s interests before your own.  And don’t you see how profound that is?  If everybody were seeing to everybody else’s best interests, then there would be no lack, no fear and no mistrust.  Everyone would have all they need or could want.  Everyone would enjoy peace.

 
  • Submission requires self-confidence; it is neither boastful nor proud,
  • submission is an act of strength, not weakness,
  • submission is an act of love.

World peace must begin as a personal choice.  Each of us must put the needs of others ahead of our own, regardless of how we feel about it.  Put aside your personal freedom and rights for the sake of another.

 

It’s like the effect of butterfly wings on the universe.  You may never see how it develops, but little by little, that imperceptible whisper will grow into a breeze, then a gust and finally, a gale force.

 

World peace begins with the laying down of self.  And that, my friends, is one heavy price to pay.

 
 
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