America NEEDS What I’ve Been Preaching

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“If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!”  (Luke 19:42)

I’m not a terribly consistent blogger. But throughout 2020, my blog posts have had a consistent theme.

My One Word for last year was PEACE. Throughout the year, I wrote about, preached about, pursued, and promoted PEACE in every way I could.

I read books on Conflict Transformation.

I received training in mediation skills from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.

I said a Prayer for Peace every day.

Did it matter?

Did it make a difference?

Maybe not. For anyone else.

But I, personally, have been changed. Over the past year I have seen God transforming me into an “Instrument of Peace.”

Don’t get me wrong. I still have a long way to go. I still say, do, think, and feel things of which I am deeply ashamed. There is still a lot of unresolved turmoil in this sinful heart of mine.

But I’ve seen progress. I’ve seen growth.

And I thank God.

Today, in the aftermath of a truly sad day in the life of our country, I invite you to take off any partisan political lenses you may be wearing.

For just a moment, stop blaming. Stop arguing about whether it was Trump or Antifa who caused the violence. Stop posting about whether it’s the Democrats or the Republicans who are really the problem.

I think we can all agree, no matter what side you’re on, that what happened yesterday was horrible.

And we might be able to agree, no matter what side you’re on, that this kind of thing–and indeed, so much of what we have witnessed over the past year–is the result of NOT VALUING PEACE.

We have valued arguing over listening.

We have valued getting our own way over looking for solutions.

We have valued winning at all costs.

And we are reaping what we have sown.

America NEEDS what I’ve been preaching for the past year. And I’m certainly not stupid enough or egotistical enough to think that my silly blog and my tiny coaching business is going to change the whole country.

But it has changed me.

And my question to you today is WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO WORK FOR PEACE?

I am not a sociologist, a pundit, a political scientist, or a psychologist, but I have a strong feeling that this is where it starts–with each one of us deciding in our own hearts that we are going to prioritize, value, learn about, work for, and pray for PEACE.

Would you join me every day in saying–and living–this prayer?

Lord, make me an instrument 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;
where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

“…as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18)

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace …” (Romans 14:19)

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43-47)