Right in the centre - Peace is an elusive thing


Ken Waddell 
The Neepawa Banner & Press

The world is a very scary place. The amount of violence that has burst upon the world in the past few years is almost unbelievable. The depth of madness associated with the Texas church shooting and the Las Vegas shooting is also almost unbelievable. There has always been, and there always will be, some very sick people in the world, more than willing to foist unspeakable violence on other people.

As we go through the 99th Remembrance Day since the end of WWI, we must not forget that the two world wars destroyed, not dozens, but millions of lives around the globe. Although it has been 72 years since the end of WWII, there have been untold deaths in wars and conflicts around the world. And that only covers the last 105 years or so. Centuries of human history has resulted in hundreds of millions of deaths. It is very discouraging and depressing. The common thread is depravity and anger of mankind.

But what triggers the depravity and anger? Is it not pride in its simplest form? It is normal and actually desirable, to have a certain amount of pride, pride in one’s accomplishments, pride in one’s goals, pride in one’s endeavours. But people get into very disturbing places when they decide that their way is the only way. It doesn’t matter whether it is a person who is so convinced they are right and their spouse is wrong or if a religious group or leader decides their way is the only way. It is this clinging to the prideful decision that our own way is the only way that is a root of evil that has ever been committed.

If you look at every murderer, every dictator, every despot, you will find a person who cannot tolerate another’s point of view.

The Bible clearly says to “as much as possible be at peace with all men”. That means not smashing your spouse in the mouth, it means not using force to bring results. It even means not getting angry, ever, with anything. That’s a tough assignment.

Just about every person will visit this peace place at some time in their life but staying in that mode is the real trick. Preaching to myself here by the way! We need to start with ourselves don’t we? Only we, ourselves can control ourselves and yes, anger is a choice. No one makes us angry, we choose to be angry. That’s a hard one isn’t it?

As far as countries or regimes are concerned, the world is less violent than it was in years or centuries past. However, politically speaking, it’s hard to understand why a country can commit torture on their enemies. It is difficult for me to understand how a country can allow such a thing. I am also totally against capital punishment. As tempting as it is to put murderers or pedophiles to death, it isn’t the right thing to do.

I guess the underlying thought is that, in spite of the rash of recent violence, the world is actually more humane and peaceful than it used to be but we have a long way to go until we are indeed “at peace with all men”.

It is up to everyone to do their part. There will always be violence and yes, there will likely always be wars until the end of time. In our own little part of the world we can make a difference, that should be obvious. We make a choice every minute of every day as to how we react to things.

As far as countries go, and political systems, there never has been a net economic benefit from war. Wars cannot always be avoided but every time there is a war, everybody loses. It may be loss of life or loved ones’ lives, it may be wasted tax dollars or destroyed infrastructure. Everyone loses. Isn’t it time to stop the losses?