What Prevents Us from Having Genuine Peace

Manila Bulletin, January 6, 2002 | Go to article overview

What Prevents Us from Having Genuine Peace


Byline: NANDY PACHECO Founder, Gunless Society

EVERYONE talks about peace. Everyone wants peace. Every time we talk about peace, there is war, there is violence. Every time we talk about law and order, there is violence and criminality. Why is peace so elusive?

The reason is we are pursuing the wrong kind of peace, that is, the peace that the world gives based on the principle of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."

Advocates of this kind of peace say: "Arm yourself and you'll have peace. Violence should be met with violence. Get even. Don't let him get away with it. In time of peace, prepare for war. Enforce the law of force, not the force of law."

By the laws, policies, rules and regulations of the government, and, by the attitude and behavior of our government officials and many politicians, we promote the gun culture, the culture of death and violence, and the reign of fear.

What then is the kind of peace should we pursue?

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God said: "People shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." (Isaiah 2:4).

"You shall not kill" (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17).

"Keep far from the man who has power to kill, and you will not be filled with the dread of death" (Sir 9:13).

"No matter the wrong, do no violence to your neighbor" (Sir 10:6).

"I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent." (Jer 15:21).

The Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God" (Mt 5:9).

"All who take the sword die by the sword," (Mt 26:52).

Teaching about Retaliation. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes on your right cheek, turn the other to him as well" (Mt 5:38-39).

What do some Biblical commentators say:

"The message of Jesus, as I understand it, is contained in the Sermon on the Mount… It is that Sermon which has endeared Jesus to me," wrote Mahatma Gandhi. "A good many Jews can repeat that statement just as sincerely as they can accept Gandhi's subsequent criticism" 'The message, to my mind, has suffered distortion in the West… Much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount"' (Pinchas Lapide, The Sermon on the Mount).

"Fulfilling the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus backs up His teaching by the actual deeds of His Passion. This lays the foundation for real obedience" (Edward Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew).

"The Beatitude does not hold out a blessing to the peaceful, nor to those who yearn for peace, but to the peacemakers" (D.A. Carson, Evangelical Expositions of Matthew).

Pope John Paul II said: "It's time to abandon the language of arms." (On his visit to Zagreb at the height of the Bosnian war).

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