More About Peace

A Christmas Season Personal Reflection

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace.”[1] So, the angelic chorus sang, proclaiming the meaning of Jesus’ birth.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”[2] So, Jesus taught, declaring the nature of a God-centered life.

Peace. Not merely the absence of conflict, but, notwithstanding external circumstance, harmony within oneself and with all peoples, creatures, and creation.

In 45 years of pastoral ministry, I have discerned that we human beings, all susceptible to being hurt by others and subject to hurt others, struggle with forgiveness. I, too.[3] Nevertheless, I have come to believe that unless I forgive, I do the greatest harm to myself; steeping my soul in a cauldron of bitterness.[4]

To paraphrase the late Desmond Tutu,[5] “Forgive.” (And he, who, with many, suffered at the hands of the heinous apartheid regime, had every earthly reason not to forgive.) “Not because those who have harmed you deserve forgiveness.” (For they, when refusing to acknowledge and repent of their wrongs, do not deserve it.) “But because you deserve to live in peace.”[6]

Forgiving. My labor of peace-making.[7]

© 2022 PRA

#peacesymbol #forgiveness


[1] Luke 2.14a

[2] Matthew 5.9

[3] Fullest confession: In my latent arsenal of coping, defense mechanisms, I have an elephantine memory for hurts and a grudge-bearing spirit.

[4] A wise therapist, concerning what she perceived as my tenacious refusal to forgive, once said to me, “Paul, you’re like someone who drinks poison and waits for his enemies to die.”

[5] Desmond Mpilo Tutu (1931-2021), a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, Nobel Peace Prize recipient (1984), renowned for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist.

[6] Source unknown (my parenthetical additions)

[7] Here, I speak only for myself. For I do not and cannot know the breadth and depth of another’s history of hurt. Therefore, I dare not presume to offer any counsel, explicit or implicit, to anyone else.

2 thoughts on “More About Peace

  1. Thank you Paul!! I printed this one out!! Forgiveness is my greatest struggle!! Will be making it a priority in 2023! I do let a lot of things go right from the beginning these days so it’s doesn’t get to the hurt or develop into bitterness making forgiveness unnecessary! I think that’s a great start for me!!

    Love

    Like

    1. “I do let a lot of things go right from the beginning these days so it’s doesn’t get to the hurt or develop into bitterness making forgiveness unnecessary!” Loretta, I love this as a model of self-care.

      Love you

      Like

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