Blessed for Pursuing Peace
THE apostle Peter pointed out that those who would “love life and see good days” must “seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10, 11) This is not always easy, but it results in blessings. To illustrate, consider the following experience of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada.
I had just turned 20 years of age and was about to fulfill a childhood dream. I was recruited into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Thus began what I assumed to be a full career as a policeman. However, with almost 16 years of service, I resigned.
Before I explain my reason for leaving the force, perhaps some background information will be helpful. My earlier days in the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) were spent in the province of New Brunswick. It was during this time that I met a lovely young woman who became my wife. We were living in a very small apartment that was being cared for by a couple who just happened to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. They would often witness to us. However, at that time religion was far removed from my priorities in life. On the other hand, my wife readily accepted the truth and subsequently became a baptized witness of Jehovah. To say the least, I was not impressed. I tried everything to change her mind, but without success. I even invited a local priest over to straighten her out. Looking back on this visit, however, I believe the priest’s apparent lack of Scriptural knowledge made the truth even more real to her.
For almost six years I tried to show my wife the foolishness of her belief, yet she stood firm for Jehovah. In time, I mellowed and developed the attitude that she could do whatever she wanted and I would follow my own beliefs. Of course, at that time my aspirations were not Scriptural; I wanted to enhance my career in the RCMP as far as possible. To that end I volunteered for extra duties and tried to become involved in high-profile cases in order to get the attention of my superiors. This was at the sacrifice of time that should have been spent with my family.
I continued to pursue this life-style until the summer of 1978. It was my wife’s desire to attend the “Victorious Faith” International Convention in Montreal, in the province of Quebec. I agreed to drive her to Montreal, but I refused to attend any of the sessions. After returning from the first day of the convention, my wife said that the next day’s program centered on family life and convinced me that I should attend. To this day I thank Jehovah that I did. I was amazed by the orderly fashion in which this massive group conducted themselves. No smoking, no obscene language, and people seemed to be so happy and at peace with one another. Although I had almost no knowledge of the Bible, I found the talks delivered by the speakers to be very informative and practical. These people were attempting to learn and apply God’s laws as set out in the Bible. As a policeman, it was my experience that many people, although knowing the law, attempted to find loopholes in order to do things their own way. I was now impressed. Shortly after returning home from the convention, I began to study the Bible and was baptized in October 1979.
As I progressed spiritually, I was able to put aside many worldly habits and eventually was given the privilege of serving Jehovah God as a ministerial servant. My putting on a new Christian personality was readily observed by fellow police officers, who, at first, made light of my new belief. (Ephesians 4:22-24) In time, I was able to turn their jesting remarks into an opportunity to give a witness. In fact, as the word spread throughout the department that I was a witness of Jehovah, many would approach me with questions. I am also very thankful to my supervisors who, out of respect for my faith, assigned duties to me that would not cause me to compromise my relationship with Jehovah.
Yes, everything appeared to be going along quite well. One evening when I returned home from work, my wife was eagerly reading the July 15, 1983, Watchtower, in particular the study article on pages 21-6 entitled “Seek Peace and Pursue It.” It dealt with avoiding “employment that involves carrying a weapon for use against other humans,” as “there is always the danger of incurring bloodguilt by taking life with the weapon.” (Isaiah 2:4; Romans 12:17, 18) The article further stated: “As the world becomes increasingly violent we can no longer regard as exemplary a brother who continues in armed employment. He could be allowed six months to make a change. If he does not make a change, he would not be in a position to hold special privileges of service and responsibility in the congregation.—1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5, 6.”
Obviously, I had a very important decision to make. As a family, we discussed the matter and took it to Jehovah in prayer. The following workday I approached my boss and explained my situation. After a lengthy conversation, we concluded that the force would not likely exempt me from wearing a firearm. Consequently, I gave notice that I would be resigning within six months.
I had no idea where to start looking for work, as I had been steadily employed since leaving school. Also, the economic climate was adversely affecting the job market. I did have several contacts in the business community that I had developed over the years, so I decided to call them. Amazingly, in less than one week I was directed to an established organization that was looking for someone to fill a new position as an investigator. I contacted the person responsible for staffing the position and discovered that I was well qualified for the job. The work would be very similar to my duties as a fraud investigator, and I would not be required to carry a firearm. You can imagine that I had my résumé over there in a flash.
When I was interviewed for this job, I decided it was best for me to be candid as to my reason for leaving the RCMP. To my surprise the interviewer (who would be my supervisor) explained that he left his former occupation for reasons of conscience and he could identify with my situation. He also indicated that this position must be filled by someone with unquestionable integrity. He thanked me for being so open and indicated that he was going to recommend me for the position. Within two weeks I was officially hired.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jehovah’s spirit assisted me and my family throughout this experience. Perhaps there are some brothers facing a similar situation. I pray that my experience will encourage them to rely on Jehovah and let him work things out his way.—Matthew 6:33.
As the foregoing experience shows, pursuing peace and putting God’s Kingdom first in your life will call for effort and may require some personal adjustments. But blessings flow to those applying Scriptural counsel, thus manifesting a spirit similar to that of the psalmist David, who said: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, in your way, and lead me in the path of uprightness.”—Psalm 27:11.