Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shalom or Pax?

For me, the most memorable aspect of 9/11 is the expressions of anger and hatred. It's easy to be angry, and quite understandable considering what we all witnessed. But each year since, as we remember those who lost their lives, as well as those who have given their lives in war, I have found myself no longer choosing to feel anger. There is no one that I choose to hate. Instead, I feel a profound sense of sadness. Sadness because of how fallen and dark our world can be. Sadness that sometimes evil has it's way with us, overwhelms us and for a while, wins.   

Last year, a friend of mine offered some very wise words in how we can honor those who died on 9/11, those who have given their lives in war and those who have lost loved ones since. Rather than choosing anger and hatred toward those who choose to hate us, let us choose to follow the words of Christ and return that hate with love and prayer. As contrary as it is to our nature, this is the only way to truly honor them. Why? Because it's the only thing that will lead us to true peace: Shalom. And is that not what they would want for this world? 

Shalom is a perfect peace not dependent on circumstances and a peace that God intended each of us to have from the beginning. We may not realize it, but we posses this deep in the recesses of our soul. This is what Jesus was talking about when He said: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." We so often base our lives and rely on worldly peace: PAX, a peace as the world knows it. This is peace that is dependent on circumstances and as we all know, that peace can be blown away by a few planes and crumbling buildings.

The only way to for us to end violence, war and terror in this world is for us to choose shalom rather than pax. As it is each year on the anniversary of 9/11, my prayer is that we can find a way to release the anger that we cling to. Regardless of how vehemently our natural spirit fights in contrast to this, let us choose forgiveness and love. Let us lose ourselves and be consumed with prayer, not dreams of hatred and vengeance. Let us choose to promote true and lasting peace.    


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