Peace Making, Self Esteem, and a bit of a tangent into the Death Penalty.

I think that too much has been said about self-esteem, and not nearly enough has been said about being a person who makes peace.

I was surpised, today, when I saw that these were connected so closely.

I think that the easy and obvious reason that a person might want to make peace is rooted in a regard for others: as the story goes, I don’t want to hurt you.   I don’t want to lash out at you.  I don’t want to fight you.

Of course, these are good things to think.  And caring for others?  That is a pretty good motivation.

But it’s not the best reason to be a maker of the peace.

The best reason to be a maker of the peace is because of what making peace does to me; put conversely, the best reason to avoid war (of every kind) is because of what it would do to me if I engage in it.

The “me” that I am speaking of, here, is not a lonely, solitary “me.”  It is a duo, a pair: there is my own, individual self.  And there is Christ in me, too.  When I choose peace, when I make peace, I am doing so because of what it does for me, and for the creator of the world, who, in his inexplicable, nearly offensive humility, chooses to reside within me.

I do not know that I am not always called to mindlessly submit to the assaults of others.   I know that an attacker can cause so much pain.  I know that it can hurt in unimaginably deep ways to have things stolen from us… Of course, it is the intangible things, when these are stolen from us, that we hurt the most.

And yet…   any attack, every attack, there is a part I can not control.  An evil person (and there are evil people!)  can only target things of this world, physical things… temporal things.

When I return violence for violence, when I lower myself to that level, suddenly then, I am jeapordizing things that are eternal and fundamental.

It is out of this deep self-esteem, this profound love for myself, for Jesus in me, that I must not give up my very self in exchange for that which is not part of the deepest me.

This is why I can not condone the death penalty.  I would rather be murdered than made into a murderer.  I will not let some one else turn me into the monster that they have become.

I am not good at this, making peace.  I do not always do what I see is right.  I do not always see what is right at all.  But I want to be better.  I am turning my eyes to making peace, trying to bring my heart there, too.   I am not good at this.  But I want to be better.

Advertisements

Published by

jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s