The Way Peace Can Come to Earth
WORLD peace cannot come merely by efforts at disarmament, or by peace treaties, even by stopping cold wars or hot wars. Even proponents of peace are now saying that peace has to have a foundation in community and also in family living. James Laue of the National Peace Academy Campaign says: “Linking [peace] with peacemaking on a community level has allowed us to define what peace is. The continuous development of techniques to resolve conflicts that come up every day, at home or in school, can help bring peace between nations.”
This is very hard to do. Writing in To the Point International under the heading “Yes, World Peace Is Everybody’s Business,” George Mikes observes:
“We have been taught to love our neighbours. An extremely difficult and tiresome thing to do. You can love almost everybody except your neighbour. First of all, everybody’s neighbour is a detestable, objectionable and meddlesome fellow—while the man living a few doors further down is likeable, pleasant and courteous. If you live in Chelsea, you will have no quarrels with the population of Turnham Green and you will get on splendidly with people in Crouch End [distant places]. Similarly, the British love the Australians and the New Zealanders—at the other end of the world—but have not always loved the French or the Germans.”
So there can be no world peace unless we get along, first, with those closest to us. Is there truly some “technique” that will accomplish this? Not at all. Actually, man is very intelligent, and is especially adept at techniques. He has applied them in every endeavor, including peacemaking. Generally, he has had some success in almost every field—science, politics, commerce, sales and promotions—except peacemaking, which involves the closest human relations. Techniques will not work here. Why not? Because peace, which truly does begin at home, must come from the heart. Peace consists, not in mere tolerance, or in a balance of power, but in genuine love and understanding toward the other person or the other family or community or nation—race, religion or social status notwithstanding.
Can this be accomplished? At the present time, by only a few. But these few, regardless of the world situation, can have peace now. They can promote peace in their own sphere of influence. How?
HOW A PERSON CAN ATTAIN PEACE
First, a person makes peace with God by looking into the Bible for himself and by seeking to determine what arrangement God has made for approach to Him. The individual cannot do this through any superficial study. He must search. He must “make sure of all things” and must “hold fast to what is fine.”—1 Thess. 5:21.
The person who does this comes to recognize, first of all, that he is a sinner and needs help. He must acknowledge that he does not have the power within himself to do works that will please God and that he does not have the wisdom to bring about true, lasting peace with anyone. The only way to attain peace with God is to get the barrier to peace removed—our own sin that blocks the way. This is not hard to do. It does not require great wisdom or ability. Faith in God and in his promises is the simple, uncomplicated way. This way is outlined very clearly in the Bible book of Romans, chapter 5, where we read:
“For, indeed, Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly will anyone die for a righteous man; indeed, for the good man, perhaps, someone even dares to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, since we have been declared righteous now by his blood, shall we be saved through him from wrath. For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”—Rom. 5:6-10.
This reconciliation results in peace with God. The apostle Paul writes: “Therefore, now that we have been declared righteous as a result of faith, let us enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) And it is not merely a truce or temporary peace, overlooking the past sins one has committed. This peace is continuous with God, through Christ, helping the person to walk from then on in a way that maintains peace. God becomes the individual’s best friend.—Compare John 15:15.
Jesus described this peace to his apostles, saying: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it.” (John 14:27) The world gives a measure of peace through a few friends, pleasure, wealth, fame, position, promotion, a degree of serenity, and so forth, as well as through its systems of philosophy and false religion. But the peace that Christ imparts to one who genuinely puts faith in his atonement sacrifice is far different. Such a person gains, first of all, a clean, untroubled conscience, a true inner peace, a peace of mind, a peaceable disposition that makes for good relations with others, a greater purpose in life and a concrete hope for the future.
How? The apostle Peter tells us that when a person exercises faith in the “good news,” dedicates his life to God and is baptized, the very act of undergoing baptism is a “request made to God for a good conscience.” (1 Pet. 3:21) Because of inherent sinfulness, the individual has, in the past, had a bad conscience, one that weighed him down as a great burden. About this, Jesus said: “Happy are those who mourn [who are sad over their poor spiritual state], since they will be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4) He holds out this invitation to all: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you.”—Matt. 11:28.
How refreshing it is, also, to share in the Kingdom-preaching work that Jesus instituted while he was here on earth, in which he trained his disciples and which he said would reach its climax at the conclusion of the system of things, which is now! (Matt. 4:17; 9:35; 10:7; 24:3, 14) Doing God’s will in this way is spiritually upbuilding, satisfying and an aid toward keeping peace with God. As Jehovah’s Witnesses go forth in his service, with “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace,” they can be confident of his care and protection in every situation.—Eph. 6:14-16.
The apostle Paul speaks of Christians’ hearts as being “sprinkled from a wicked conscience.” This is because God has said: “I shall by no means call their sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore.” (Heb. 10:17, 22) Relieved in conscience, the Christian can have a true inner peace, a peace of mind. He worries less about world conditions. Even sickness and death do not hold the same fears that they once held. The knowledge of the resurrection provision alleviates such fears.—1 Thess. 4:13, 14.
MAKING PEACE WITH OTHERS
The dedicated, baptized person is in the proper condition to make peace with others. Whatever he does toward his fellowman must be done in love. Never may he let selfishness, greed, pride, jealousy or a desire for revenge be his motivation. People recognize sincerity, hospitality, genuine love, and, in turn, respond by showing similar qualities. Jesus stated a principle by which one can be a promoter of peace. He said: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
This love and this giving, if it is going to promote real peace, must not be narrow, partial or prejudiced. We must be real neighbors to all men among whom we find ourselves, regardless of their religion, nationality, color or social status. The apostle Paul pointed out that this is a Christian essential. He said: “Pursue peace with all people,” and, “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Heb. 12:14; Rom. 12:18) Jesus forcefully illustrated the need to be a good, loving, helpful neighbor to everyone, taking time to make known the “good news” to all, and putting forth effort and using material goods to help others in distress, as the opportunity affords. Jesus made his point as strong as possible by depicting a Samaritan man as the good neighbor, for there was a general enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans.—Luke 10:29-37.
What if such neighborly love is not reciprocated? The Christian cannot control this, but he can remain peaceable himself. If any other person wants to disrupt the peace or make war, the Christian can look to God for help to maintain balance and to avoid retaliation. The Bible counsel is: “Return evil for evil to no one. . . . Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath.” (Rom. 12:17-19) If real danger threatens, the Christian puts confidence in God that no lasting harm can come to him. This confidence the apostle Paul expressed, saying: “I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments . . . nor powers . . . nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 8:38, 39.
‘But how,’ someone may ask, ‘will such peaceful living on the part of a few bring WORLD peace?’ In itself, our individual peace will not do it. But the God of Christians is “the God who gives peace” and Christ Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” (Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 14:33; Isa. 9:6) Those who positively do not want peace, who are continual disturbers of the peace, those who cannot be at peace unless they rule, must be removed from the earth. God says he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth,” just as he did once before, at the time of the global flood of Noah’s day. (Rev. 11:18; Gen. 6:12, 13) There is a price for peace and that, the Bible says, is that “the wicked is a ransom for the righteous one; and the one dealing treacherously takes the place of the upright ones.” (Prov. 21:18) God will destroy all the wicked ones.
The Prince of Peace, God’s king of all the earth, will bring an end to national conflicts. Just as God did in protecting his people Israel in ancient times, so he, through his appointed King, will do earth wide, and permanently. The 46th Psalm, recounting God’s protection of Jerusalem from enemy nations round about, provides an example of what he will do in behalf of all peaceable ones. It states: “Jehovah of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is a secure height for us. . . . Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons [for battle use] he burns in the fire.”—Ps. 46:7-9.
With peace and harmony on the earth, works benefiting the earth can be carried out without hindrance, community wealth will not be drained for war purposes and the entire emphasis will be on beneficial projects. The rich produce of the earth will not be wasted. As to the individual, he can develop his talents and abilities and contribute freely to the general welfare of others. Only through a peace established with God can true world peace be brought about and maintained. Such a state of harmony between God and man is described in these words of the 85th Psalm: “As for loving-kindness and trueness, they have met each other; righteousness and peace—they have kissed each other. Trueness itself will sprout out of the very earth, and righteousness itself will look down from the very heavens. Also, Jehovah, for his part, will give what is good, and our own land will give its yield.”—Ps. 85:10-12.
If you are a lover of peace, you can enjoy peace with God and with fellow Christians now, and a measure of peace with others, as a foretaste of the complete peace to be enjoyed shortly in God’s new order. Peace with God is the first essential, then, to have peace with others of like faith and with all men as far as it depends upon you. God assures the perfect, lasting peace in his due time. It will come soon, after he has brought “to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Rev. 11:18.
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God’s Word points the way to peace with him
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We can share “the good news of peace” with our neighbor