Tag Archives: Peace

Peace | Can’t We Act Better?

by Jim and Melanie

We stepped out the front door into the sunshine for a walk. Nearby were two young doves. They sat very still so we would not see them. Adult doves fly away in an explosion of sound. These sat there until our return.

How nice if they carried a message of peace and harmony between people of Earth. Such terrible things we humans do to each other. Our thoughts and prayers are with our French brothers and sisters today.





We fight over how to achieve peace. We kill in the name of preserving life. We shove and kick each other to reach the last item on a shelf, an item we intend to give with love. We draw farther and farther apart, deeper into darkness. The greatest irony is that, generally, we share the same basic wants. We all want safety, nutrition, love, opportunity. But our perspective on how to achieve those seems to be separating.

Jim and I have a friend whose vision has deteriorated over the last few years. The images he saw fractured and multiplied, making it more difficult to tell what was real. It had gotten to the point that he couldn’t drive safely. Were the red cars ahead of him actually two red cars, or just double vision of one? Our friend needed new glasses to reintegrate the images, so he could see what was real.

We are used to the idea of “shalom” meaning “peace.” Another interpretation of “shalom” is “wholeness.” From wikipedia,

Shalom, in the liturgy and in the transcendent message of the Christian scriptures, means more than a state of mind, of being or of affairs. Derived from the Hebrew root shalam – meaning to be safe or complete, and by implication, to be friendly or to reciprocate. Shalom, as term and message, seems to encapsulate a reality and hope of wholeness for the individual, within societal relations, and for the whole world.

Shalom is peace, wholeness, integration. We need new glasses to see what is real, that we are one whole. When we give in to hate, whether to refugees from another country or to those who oppose them, we give in to darkness. There is no “other.” We are connected. We are one.

Shalom. Peace. Wholeness. Love.


by Melanie in IA

Who needs it, really? What does it mean to forgive someone, and why is forgiveness important?

I grew up un-churched, a heathen, so my faith-structure is weak. But I still have a belief in a higher power, a god-creator, if nothing else. I do believe in love and forgiveness and connection. I believe we are connected. I believe love is ours for the accepting, that we are all worthy of love.

Forgiveness is a more difficult concept, but my god would not require a physical human sacrifice to allow us all forgiveness. I believe the sacrifice, instead, is in humbling ourselves, in reviewing our wrongs, in asking for forbearance for our humanness, our imperfections. We need to forgive ourselves for this, and we need to forgive each other for this. I don’t know if we need to ask God for forgiveness, but where we have hurt each other, part of humbling ourselves is asking the other for that special grace, that blessing. We need to learn to see each other’s perfection, and have compassion for each other’s faults.

So what happens when we ask for forgiveness and it is not granted, when we apologize sincerely and it is not accepted?

Does that mean the other person only sees the flaws in us and not the goodness? And how should we see ourselves when that happens? As something less? Less worthy? No. For me, my need to be forgiven is largely ego-driven. Once I take the ego out of it, I can accept the situation either way.

Or should it change how we see the person we have injured? Should I be angry with them? Are they trying to make me mad, make me withdraw? At what point, for self-protection, should my attitude change from one of humbling myself to one of saying, “Fine, you won’t forgive me. I am a good person, despite your opinion. If you won’t forgive me, perhaps you are the one who is flawed.” How generous is it to give in to anger that way?

Again, for me, it’s irrelevant.

Something I know: life is short. People are human and make mistakes. I believe forgiving is important, part and parcel of loving them, accepting them as they are. I believe apologizing sincerely and with no expectations of mercy is important, too. That is the humbling part.

Yes, life is short. When things go wrong in your relationships, do you want to leave things the way they are? Do you want to reconcile and try to make the relationship better than it was?

Or do you really want, or really need, to cut off the relationship completely? Is it toxic? Is it healthier on the whole if it ends, if forgiveness is not granted? How do you come to that decision?

What examples do you have of forgiving or being forgiven? On a personal level only, what insults or wrongs are not forgivable? Does it matter if it is a one-time incident or a recurring problem? Have you ever granted forgiveness and wished you had not?

Tell me what you believe about forgiving. Tell me your stories of being human and asking for forgiveness.