Peace Works—Better than Violence
By Terry Brown of Pigeon, MI, USA
Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing. —Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a
Our son Christopher lives in Orlando, Florida, a thousand miles away from us. He is constantly on our minds, as are our other two children, Teresa and Bryan, who live only a few hours away. We do everything we can to stay in touch with our children.
Chris has told us about his risky experiences—close-up meetings with black bears and feral hogs, kayaking in rough ocean waters, and minor car accidents. On one phone call, he told us about one of his nightly runs.
While jogging near his apartment in the city, Chris caught up to a person who was running with a baseball bat. He was hurling threats at the next runner ahead on the path, who was desperately trying to get away.
Without thinking, Chris ran ahead to the would-be victim and asked if he was OK. “No,” was the polite way to frame his response. As Chris continued to engage the man in conversation, the enraged pursuer, realizing there was now a witness, turned around and left.
Chris learned involvement with the other man’s girlfriend caused the chase. The desperate man had planned on retrieving a knife from his car and using it on his attacker. Chris convinced him that it might have provided immediate protection, but not a peaceable solution, possibly causing even more trouble.
Chris learned the man had no place to stay the night. Seeing no alternatives, Chris invited him to spend the night at his apartment. The next morning, after a few calls, the man found a family that would house him.
None of us know what might interrupt our daily routines. Some clashes might put us in physical, social, or spiritual danger. Some might simply be inconvenient. How will we respond? Although Chris had no nearby protection from his parents, he felt God’s protection there in the moment.
God’s concern was for each person involved—the angry, the fearful, and the passerby. Who would sense Divine protective love? What will I do when I meet bruised or broken people—those immersed in sin or those who do not know the love God has for them?
Prayer for Peace
Interrupt us, O God, if we lose our focus on peace. Jab us in the ribs; make us uncomfortable if we become numb to violence. Help us remember—to be silent is to be complicit.
Spiritual Practice: Pursue Peace on Earth
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a. Reflect on how you can “see violence but proclaim peace…feel conflict, yet extend the hand of reconciliation…encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.” What does the peace of Christ mean to you? Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom. What act of justice or peacemaking does God invite you to pursue this day? Dwell on these words of pursuit: see, proclaim, feel, extend, encounter, find.
Today, I will intervene where peace is threatened. I will teach that peace works—better than violence.