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Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Peace" Has Been Hijacked

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see a person wearing the words “peace” on an article of clothing? What do you think when you see the “peace” symbol stuck on the bumper of an automobile? Sadly, if you’re like me, your first thoughts usually are not something positive. I have a few t-shirts with Christian themes on them. One has a large image of the earth with the words “Peace on Earth” on it. I’ve never worn it out of the house. So, what is wrong with “peace”? Regretfully, I believe the word has been “hijacked.”

Instead of visions of tranquility and harmony, when I see “peace” brandished about, my thoughts go to words or phrases like: pacifist, appeaser, anti-war activist, or political agenda. It’s a shame. Peace should not be a dirty word.

“War is a dreadful thing,” said C.S. Lewis, but he adds, “I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely wrong.” Loving your enemy does not mean you allow him to go unpunished. Given that, Lewis concludes, “It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy…All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery.”

So, if war is sometimes just then peace can sometimes be sinful. Peace for some may mean torment for others. Peace now may mean greater suffering and loss later. Peace may also mean that evil prospers.

Part of the problem is with semantics. Many consider peace to be the opposite of war, or, at least, the absence of hostilities. However, my Dictionary of the Bible states that, “Peace is the presence of God, not the absence of conflict. Christ brought, preached, and is our peace.” Jesus never told the Roman Centurion to lay down his arms. He did say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you (emphasis on “I” and “my”). I do not give to you as the world gives.” Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians says, “For he (Christ) himself is our peace…”

What has happened with “peace” is very similar to what has taken place with the rainbow. The rainbow, which throughout most of history has been associated with a covenant promise that God made to mankind, now has been “hijacked” by the homosexual movement. Who do we see brandishing the flag with a rainbow on it? If a car or a shirt has nothing but a rainbow on it, my first thoughts do not go to Noah and the account of the Flood. Again, it’s a shame.

To many folks peace begins with tolerance. (Another good word that has lost its true meaning. I use it in this sense.) Tolerance in its corrupted sense has its roots in moral relativism, which, of course, means the loss of moral absolutes. So this hijacked form of peace is rooted in a world in which morality is divorced from God, Who is the giver of true peace. So we have the height of irony: many seeking peace ignore the Author and Giver of peace.

In a world full of evil, where atheistic dictators kill millions of their own people, where radical Islamists call for adherence or death and for the annihilation of a whole nation of people, we cannot afford to follow the philosophy of those who would do little more than chant, “all we are saying is give peace a chance.” As we choose our next president, we would do well to remember this.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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