Earlier this week South Korea offered definitive evidence that a North Korean missile caused the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean naval ship patrolling disputed border waters in March. Forty-six people died in the attack. North Korea has threatened “all-out war” if South Korea makes any retaliatory move.
North Korea has made similar threats before, so it might be easy to ignore this one. But there are some good reasons for taking time to pray. One is that North Korea’s leadership is in transition and the country is in dire economic straits. It has cut itself off from almost everyone but China. Also, next week about 200 American officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are going to China for a “Strategic and Economic Dialogue.” At least some of their talk could touch on the need for peace on the Korean peninsula.
The need for peace. Most would agree that it’s not just needed in the Koreas. Many of us could use more peace ourselves. And Christ Jesus gave us some guidance on how to get it. He told his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
What is the nature of this peace? Well, it includes healing, which was so much a part of Jesus’ ministry. His peace came not from passivity but from a deep understanding of God’s love as a law or force in the world. His peace was – and is – meant to change and heal the world, right down to your life and mine.
Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science provides a way to better understand the law Jesus was teaching. In an article titled “How strife may be stilled,” she wrote, “The First Commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue – ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ – obeyed, is sufficient to still all strife. God is the divine Mind. Hence the sequence: Had all peoples one Mind, peace would reign” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 279).
To have this one Mind is to resist false views of ourselves or others – including other nations – and to have only one God, one Love. It is to recognize that each individual is an idea in Mind, precious to God, designed to do good and not evil. Whatever takes anyone away from doing good is unnatural; we are created to be children of Love, not hate. We can reject hatred, anger, and related feelings by insisting on knowing the love and peace of Christ – the spiritual message of God’s love that Jesus brought to us.
This healing peace restores lives, strengthens goodness, and purifies motives. Jesus’ message was that lasting peace is possible, if we’re willing to be unafraid to love as he did, to see beyond the angry, untrustworthy, bitter outer appearance of things – whether that shows up in our lives as a neighbor, family member, or trouble in a distant land – and to recognize each one’s spiritual nature as pure and as loved by God.
This doesn’t mean just accepting things the way they are. Divine peace is dynamic because its agent is Love. Anyone who has loved even a little bit knows how energizing love can be. How much it desires only good for the loved one. How protective and tender it can be. Now consider infinite, divine Love, which is impartial, unending, and truly knows only good. It is a healing love. This is the powerful driving force behind genuine, lasting peace for us and for everyone.
Gaining this peace may take work. For some, it may mean making peace ourselves, by saying, “I’m sorry” to another. Or it may involve forgiving a wrong done by someone else. Sometimes taking either step will require great compassion on the part of the forgiver and courage from the one seeking forgiveness. But every time we can take another step in this direction, we help ourselves, our families, and the human family.
For a Korean translation of this article, see The Herald of Christian Science.