Mother Teresa said, ” We have no peace because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Christmas time we sing: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”
We live in a world where peace surrounds us. Whether in our personal lives or in politics or world affairs there are weeds of evil, chaos, suspicion and fear that are growing….choking out peace tresspassing boundaries. We long for peace yet it often evades us. We have no peace because we are unaware that belonging is the fertile ground which allows it to grow.
We are starving for peace. It is difficult to fully understand but peace must begin with each of us. You may consider yourself a peaceful person. But then I will ask: What are you afraid of? what makes you anxious? What makes you angry? What makes you question your self-worth? What is the source of anger, anxiety, fear, shame and guilt? all of these elements litter the fertile ground of the soul. When we pause and truly think about these feelings it isn’t long before we can name the source of our frustration choking out our peace. Often it is a person or people who are involved and we blame them for our suffering. However, we have the power to get peace back.
How do we remove these weeds choking our peace? To make room for peace we must take out the weed killer…. forgiveness. But the perception that forgiveness releases another from the very thing that has hurt us, the very thing that stole our peace… the very thing that causes our suffering… STOPS US…. dead in our tracks. Because we are led to believe we must wait for peace until the one who has trespassed against us owns up to what they did to us. Alas, with this mindset we let the weeds grow unchecked. We often hear, “Why the hell should I forgive them? don’t you know what they did to me? “ Yes! They stole your peace and now you are in a constant state of hurt in varying degrees. Peace is chocked out by the weeds of anger, anxiety, fear, shame guilt and depression which ultmately makes room for the Root of Bitterness. Bitterness then begs for revenge so PEACE MUST WAIT!
Forgiveness is like weed killer. If you don’t deal with the weeds they thrive and peace lays dormant. Peace is powerful when understood as a strength rather than a weakness. When we forgive ,this weed killer transforms the garden of the soul. Nevertheless,, we often have to get to the place were it just hurts to much before we surrender the weeds to God. Here! Take this from me. I don’t want to hurt anymore. I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t want to be afraid and guilting anymore. I don’t want to become bitter.
Forgiveness is the pathway to PEACE. This PEACE allows us to bear witness to all that is beautiful again. It allows us to experience a new sense of belonging. It allows us to rise above the very circumstance that held us captive and experience faith, hope, love, and Joy.
Jesus is the prince of peace! The season of ADVENT begs for hope, peace, joy and Love. Jesus came to bring this peace and was killed for trying. Nevertheless, in the midst of His greatest moment of suffering ,he said to those who mocked him who crucified him, ‘Forgive them Father, they know not what they do’. His suffering ended moments later. Rising again… three day later. He did not seek revenge….NO! His disciples did not seek revenge…NO! Instead, His message of Peace through forgiveness has been carried forth from those who have been transformed by it…from one generation to the next until this very moment. This Peace we crave comes from within…. it is born in love, it is fed by hope and when we are free to live in this peace we experience true Joy!
This is the season of Advent…..The season of waiting…..The Christian story begins with the Birth of Jesus…..The one the prophets foretold. Jesus who left eternity and entered time to show us the God kind of love that feeds our hunger for peace…for belonging…for knowing and being known by God. The world longs for Peace… yet the weeds of social, racial, ethnic and religious injustice run rampant. The disparity of rich and poor, the sick and healthy, the marginalized and oppressed reveal the overgrowth that informs us why we have no peace.
Nevertheless, this revelation of peace transformers those who understand its power. Those who seeks peace instead of strife, seeks to make things right instead of revenge, Seeks mercy rather than judgement. This Peace is the hallmark of someone who has known forgiveness and now forgives. Why must we wait for peace then? We do not! We have the tools of forgiveness which creates fertile ground for peace thrive! Who do you need to forgive so peace can come to life in the garden of your soul?
Let peace begin with you.