Peace begins with each of us

Peace might seem unattainable at times. But on the International Day of Peace (today) and always, acting on each opportunity to be a peacemaker brings practical solutions that can have far-reaching effects.

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“Let There Be Peace on Earth” is the title of a song written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller. The lyrics convey the timeless message: May peace on earth begin with each one of us as individuals. We could say that peace can begin for everyone right at home, so to speak.

Peace can often seem “out there” – elusive and difficult to achieve. But if we think about starting with ourselves, peace can seem less distant and more readily attainable.

I’ve learned about peacemaking from my study of the Bible, and of Christian Science, which was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded the Monitor. The Bible story of Abigail and her husband, Nabal, has always stood out to me as a good illustration of peace beginning with the individual. In this case, peace began with Abigail’s efforts to compensate for Nabal treating David in an unbrotherly way. Thanks to Abigail, violence was averted between David’s men and her family (see I Samuel 25).

Christ Jesus taught peacemaking skills. He stated, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). And then he articulated a variety of ways to make peace, including “Be reconciled to thy brother,” and “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:24, 44).

The basis for consistently expressing such love is brought out in Christian Science, which shows how peace is grounded in the spiritual perspective that there is one God, also explained as the divine Mind. This is the one and only Mind of all God’s offspring – of all humanity. As we understand that this is so, we increasingly express the godly love of that Mind in our interactions among our fellow human beings.

Mrs. Eddy 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). Since peace – including harmony, goodness, love – is part of God’s very nature, it is inherently part of our individual nature as God’s offspring. And understanding that brings out this inherent quality of peace in practical expression. Since each one of us is God’s offspring, and God has all power, everyone has the right and the ability to understand and demonstrate this peace.

There was a time when I had been mistakenly judged at work, by an individual who was senior to me, for having done something I didn’t do. While this wasn’t a potential lose-your-job kind of situation, for credibility, future advancement, and simple justice, it was important for me to be perceived rightly.

Instead of becoming angry, I took the peaceful approach. I went to God in prayer and felt divinely guided to approach my senior with sincerity to share my side of the story. The individual listened sincerely, and I felt I was heard. At the same time, I prayed and affirmed that God, the one Mind, was in control – not many minds. And so, we both could only express that Mind. I also prayed to love the individual as God’s offspring, just as I was.

As I continued to pray in this way, I felt an easing of tension and misunderstanding between the senior and me. In addition, some information surfaced that corrected any mistaken perceptions, and this also helped us to go forward in a good, peaceful working relationship. I was humbled when I found out my senior had submitted my name for a leadership award.

We each can make a difference toward peace in the world around us as we take the initiative to be peacemakers at every opportunity. May we open our thought to the idea that peace can begin right within each one of us. Then we can expect to experience Jesus’ promise: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

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