Hezekiah prayed for peace and security for his people (2 Kings 20:19). “It is honorable to refrain from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Prov 20:3). King David encouraged his followers to “depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps 34:14). Eccl 9:18 states wisdom was better than weapons of war. But in being at war, it is best to surrender to the power of God (1 Sam 14:1-14). An Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) prayed, “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” To Francis, prayers of love drive out hatred. People will fear no one. There’s the realization that men and women are able to live peaceably.
Who must offer the gift of peace? It’s important that these gestures be made by peacemakers. Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973), president of the United States said, “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must take one step at a time.” Undoubtedly Johnson must have been thinking about lasting peace. Peace for the wrong reasons won’t endure. It’s fitting that everything comes together, one at a time. Then nations can delight in well-drafted peace treaties.
Peace with Ourselves
The current Dalai Lama (b. 1935), of the newest school of Tibetan monks wrote, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” This is where the peace processes begins. We’ve to do the work and ask ourselves the tough questions about living up to these challenges. Such questions aren’t necessarily easy.
A rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Hendrix viewed power as a stumbling block to peace. It’s only when we recognize this we could see artificial divisions crumble.
Peace without Force
Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” This fact is essential when nations come to the bargaining table, when all underlying grievances must be ironed out in coming to a meaningful agreement.
Negotiators’ attitude is essential during peace talks. St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), a Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva said, “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” During peace negotiations there are usually bumps in the road, but it’s wise to remember having the right attitude is essential.
Dada Vaswani (b. 1918), an Indian spiritual leader wrote, “Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is not at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.” Indeed, Vaswani was referring to having personal peace, but part of this journey requires courage, for our peace might well depend on others.