Peace

“…swords into plowshares…”

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“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3)

Last weekend our community celebrated an annual festival, with the festivities on Saturday evening punctuated by a fantastic fireworks display.  In fact, it was so phenomenal I heard folks invoking the “D” word as they disappeared into the night saying, “Those fireworks were even better than Disney!”

I found myself wondering about all that gunpowder rolled tightly together with other chemicals to explode in fantastic arrays of colored lights and sound.  Then I thought about the verse from Micah, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.”  When gunpowder is being exploded in fireworks it means it’s not being exploded in bombs — swords into plowshares.  Resources must be used for peace, not war.

In personal relationships (and international affairs for that matter) the mere absence of conflict is not peace.  If the absence of conflict simply means rusty swords are hung on the wall, the swords are available at moment’s notice for hacking and slashing.  In order for peace to truly exist in a relationship the parties must not only cease fighting, they must also agree to find new ways of relating and disagreeing that preclude “fighting.”  They must actively beat their swords into plowshares so the swords are not hanging on the walls waiting for the next disagreement to turn into a “fight.”  As the prophet Micah says, “neither shall they learn war anymore.”  Instead of simply temporarily ending the “armed conflict”  the individuals must learn and practice with great discipline ways of relating that are respectful and compassionate.  The parties must use their emotional resources for loving, not fighting.  They must diligently learn and practice the ways of peace, not war.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many relationships and marriages end because disagreements turned into fights and fights turned into irreconcilable wars.  Ways of peace were not diligently practiced in the relationships and the paths to fighting were just too worn and well-traveled.  In those homes, rusty swords hung over the mantle as reminders of the willingness to “fight.”  Healthy relationships are evidenced by the absence of swords over the mantle and instead, rust-free plows in the barns – plows that have been busy sowing the seeds of peace.

I pray that God will teach me the ways of peace, and help me sow its seeds wherever possible.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

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~ by revgenelson on September 15, 2010.

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