A few months ago a friend and I had a very intense disagreement which led to some very harsh words being exchanged. A few days ago out of the blue (is it ever really just “out of the blue” ?) while on Facebook, he hit me up and now all is forgiven and forgotten. We are at peace.

“According to an article in the Canadian Army Journal, a former president of the Norwegian Academy of Science, aided by historians from England, Egypt, Germany, and India came up with some fantastic figures and findings:

Since 3600 B.C. the world has known only 292 years of peace. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed. The value of the destruction would pay for a golden belt around the world 97 miles wide and 33 feet thick. To put it another way, in world history we have seen 13 years of war for every year of peace. Since the beginning of time, more than 8,000 treaties of peace were concluded. Although meant to last forever, the average time they remained in force was 2 years. (Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, p. 1571)”

The above reference was used during last Sunday’s sermon by our pastor. As I listened I asked myself: how many of these wars have been fought in the name of God? How many millions have been killed in the name of Christ, The Prince of Peace, whose birth we are celebrating at this time? How many of us, who profess to be followers of this Prince of Peace, are today involved in creating and perpetuating chaos, discord, fighting, rivalry and conflict? The pastor made a profound statement that we all, Christians and non-Christians, need to promote a culture of peace… one heart at a time! Easier said than done but Christ gives us a blueprint of how to accomplish this:

“You have heard that it was said, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

This doesn’t mean you must allow others to abuse and take advantage of you. It doesn’t mean you must be soft or weak and cower away in the face of oppression or aggression. It does mean that there are moments in each of our lives, when in the interest of peace, we all must summon the spiritual fortitude to forgo the need to fight to be right.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”