Peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance, tranquillity - a state or period in which there is no war, or a war has ended.”
It is a “concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict such as war), and freedom from fear of violence between individual or groups.”
The first written record of a peace treaty is of two kings living in Mesopotamia, four thousand years ago, however, since that peace treaty was put in place nearly one thousand two hundred other peace agreements have been signed and broken. In fact, it was said that the second world war was a war to end all wars.
One would have thought that after the mass destruction of World War 1, also known as the “Great War”, which lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918, and deemed the deadliest conflict in the history of the human race when sixteen million people died, that there would be peace, a period when there would be no war.
However, it would appear that any peace that existed after World War 1 was a fragile one, which resulted in yet another World War which lasted from 1939-1945. (World War 2). A vast majority of the world’s countries including all the great world powers were involved in this war. Every part of the world was affected by war. World War 2, certainly did not end all wars, and even as I write there are countries that are still at war.
Several peace organisations exist today, The United Nations, International Peace Bureau, National Peace Direct, to name a few, however, these organisations have not managed to bring about peace.
Peace is important, (however, elusive it might seem), we cannot depend solely on peace organisations to bring about peace. Peace has eluded us for thousands of years and for that reason, each of us needs to find peace in our own hearts, before we can obtain peace as a people or nations. We have to make the choice to accept God’s peace, because He is the only one who can bring peace. As long as we allow hatred, fear, anger and prejudice to remain in our hearts there can be no peace. Replacing negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones such as love, joy, and kindness, will remove the destructive tendencies of our species and bring peace.
Peace has eluded us because of sin, however, all is not lost, because when man sinned it has always been God’s desire to establish peace on earth. Long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come to show us how to live in peace. We find this in Isaiah 9: 6-7. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even forever….”
From a world view, it would appear that peace is elusive, however, from a personal perspective, it need not be so, after all before Jesus left this earth, He promised us peace. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). In fact, He calls us to be Peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).
The peace that God gives is not fragile or elusive. It is real lasting peace, however, for peace to exist in our lives and our world there must be a genuine desire for it.
Only Jesus Christ can give true peace.
All references, unless otherwise stated are from the King James version of the Bible.
Contribution from Marlene Levy, 7th Adventist and FTiC Committee Member.