The world often views people who advocate for peace as being weak and vacillating. However, in reality, bringing about peace requires strength and conviction. Peace makes demands on us that are not easily met. If it were otherwise, lasting peace would not be so elusive.
One element of bringing about peace is to know what the word means to us. Peace requires a clear definition that is open to frequent examination. This is not merely an academic exercise; if we aren’t sure of what it is we are trying to accomplish, how can we hope to actually achieve peace, either globally or in our day-to-day lives?
Do I seek to understand the nature and meaning of peace?
A second element of bringing about peace is to have a realistic view of the political, economic and social forces that thwart peace. As Quakers, we believe the Light of God is present in everyone. So it is, but to effectively advocate for peace, we must be “street smart” enough to understand that, for some people, their portion of the Inner Light has been hidden under a bushel basket woven with strands of fear, ignorance and want. We always hope their light may yet shine for all to see, but to promote the cause of peace, we must understand that, for many people, the strands that obscure the Inner Light are thick and multi-layered.
What keeps the world from realizing peace?
A third element of bringing about peace is to search our hearts and minds for the disharmonious attitudes and behaviors we observe in others. We must always remember what Jesus told us: “…first take the log out of your own eye, then… take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”
What keeps me from realizing peace?