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August 2008

Are We Peace-Keepers Or Peace-Breakers?

I am 29 yrs old and have just come back from a 12 months stint as a Peace Keeper in Afghanistan.  I have been shocked by a number of things on my return. I have a large number of friends and relatives, most of them Xians, and I have been very surprised by some of their attitudes.  For example,  some of them think I have wasted my time by having gone to Afghanistan.  They think we should just help our families here at home.  Also, I find myself being somewhat disgusted by how many of them complain and get upset over what I think are very silly little things compared to what people in Afghanistan have to deal with.  By the way, prior to Afghanistan, I also spent a short period of time in Sudan.  Please pray that God will give me patience and wisdom when I talk to them, and are there some Bible verses that might help me?

Regards,  Brandon

Dear Brandon, thank you.   I for one am thankful for every Peacekeeper! We live in a very dangerous world, and if men and women can help to stop people from killing each other by being present and setting an example of peace and civility, the more we have the better!

Unfortunately, in the Western world, we are so well off it has caused many of us to become very selfish.   It is a fact that we often begin to think of others only when disaster hits us.

Brandon, and others who might be going through a similar experience, let me share a story about one very courageous peace builder.   You have probably heard of him,  Russian author and dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

He is best known in the West for his book titled, 'The Gulag Archipelago', in which he depicts his personal experiences as a prisoner in the ex-Soviet prison system.

His only crime was that he cried out about the brutal mentality of the then Soviet authorities.

Brandon, and all young people, if you haven't read the book, I encourage you to do so.  At least some of it, (pick it up at the Library) because it will help you see what can happen to us humans when we reject God and the truth that all men are created equal.

Becoming fearful of his popularity and influence on many Russians, the Russian government eventually banned him from his homeland in the early 70's when he came to live in the US.

He remained extremely popular in the West until 1978 when he gave an address at Harvard University.   It came as a shock to many when he condemned the West's materialism, and how, he believed, that had led to a loss of it's moral compass.  He spoke about balancing freedom with personal responsibility. I encourage you to read this address; just Google Alexander Solzhenitsyn's talk at Harvard University

This good man, who passed away recently, believed in God, and loved the principles of the Bible, particularly mercy, justice, and treating others as you want to be treated.

So, Brandon, you certainly aren't alone in wanting peace for yourself and the rest of the world.  Solzhenitsyn was speaking from experience, and it's difficult for us in the West to appreciate what he said because we have had it so good for so long.  As someone else has said, we Christians often do better in times of crisis than in times of great prosperity.

Brandon, just keep doing what you are doing and hopefully, as friends and relatives see you living your beliefs, you will be a good influence upon them.   Remember that we Christians are representatives of the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the greatest Peace Keeper & Peace Maker of all time.

Here are some verses for you.

In Matthew 5:9,  Jesus said;  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18,  "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

And in Romans 15:33, Paul says to us,  "The God of peace be with you all."  Amen

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for the peace that comes to us when we accept the Prince of peace.  Help us to be 'peacemakers' in our families, our communities and to be always ready to be an instrument of peace for You.  In Jesus name we pray,  Amen.

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