A quote from Desmond Tutu’s God Has a Dream in talking about peace in South Africa and later work with those in Northern Ireland:
Peace is not a goal to be reached but a way of life to be lived. Violence erupts in moments of hatred and rejection, but peace is created in long years of love and acceptance. Trust must be built over generations, but small, even symbolic acts – a handshake – can make a great difference in humanizing former enemies.
Often when people ask me questions about peace and pacifism, they want to know what I think should happen right now in global hotspots. What should happen in Iraq? Would you pull all the troops out of Afghanistan tomorrow?
I love Tutu’s language here. Peace is not something that just shows up suddenly at a global summit. Peace is something that grows slowly over time. It is a way of living, not a goal.
As we live a life of love, true to the gospel, we begin to grow community and trust that brings the way of peace. Peace grows through thousands of small acts and decisions every day, not just in a moment of conflict. It’s how we deal with the conflict present in everyday life with grace and love.
How we treat people is important. When we are able to act in love towards others, we become part of a growing peace. I believe we bring the Kingdom one action at a time.