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March/April, 2018

Be a Peacemaker


The World Needs Peacemakers

There seem to be many conflicts and potential conflicts in the world. There is evidence of intolerance in many nations, populations unaccepting of different religions, cultures and skin colors.  There is a prevalent concern about growing contempt, judgment and condemnation.

Over the years, this has made exceptional peacemakers noteworthy.  Almost every year since 1901, a Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded.  This is in addition to the Nobel prizes for Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, Medicine and Literature.  The prize has gone to organizations like the Red Cross and United Nations, but likewise to many individuals.  Political leaders, including Barak Obama and Nelson Mandela, have received the award, but also men and women around the globe who created an initiative for peaceful solutions to local or global problems, like Martin Luther King.  The Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu are among religious leaders who have been given this prestigious award.

What do these groups and individuals have in common?  How do they promote peace?

Many of them have been instrumental in resolving specific conflicts in certain countries.  But some of them have made it a lifelong mission to teach a message of peacemaking to all who will listen.  Their desire has been that each one of us would contribute to peace in the world through our daily words and actions.

Can we do this?  Can we individually have an impact on global peace?  If so, how?

How to Be a Peacemaker

Let’s look at the Dalai Lama.  He is a promoter of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. He says, Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

The Dalai Lama teaches, It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.

If you’re in a group that is debating world problems, and individuals are showing contempt for political leaders they don’t like, perhaps you can suggest that such a discussion is unproductive, or you can advocate solutions.

When you notice intolerance, in prejudicial comments and behaviors, can you say or do something constructive?  Responding in anger only contributes to the problem.  Famous peacemakers have taught us that peaceful means are powerful.

Finally, in your own life, with family, neighbors and friends, you always have the choice to contribute to controversy or be a peacemaker.  When things are chaotic, when people are shouting, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and consider what you can do to heal, not harm.  Be the voice of reason and compassion.

You can make decisions every day to bring greater peace into your own life and contribute to peace on the planet.   Be a peacemaker!