While preparing for a Sunday School lesson, I got the idea to make little take-home gifts featuring the peace symbol. I grabbed my keys and headed down to the Dollar Store, figuring I could pick up some stickers, erasers, or maybe some other party favors with the symbol on it. They were all over the place, right?
I scoured every single aisle of the store and found nothing. Stopping an employee who was stocking the shelves, I asked if she’d seen anything with the peace sign on it. Nope. Nothing.
“What, is peace not a thing any more? Don’t people want it?”
She shrugged. “I guess not in this store.”
(You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?)
Peace doesn’t come in a store any more than Christmas does (just ask the Grinch). Peace doesn’t even come from policies, treaties, slogans, or military enforcement. Peace starts inside the soul and grows outwards.
Here are a few quotes that I’ve found in my recent study of the topic that I thought I’d share.
“We cannot expect permanent peace, nor will it come until such time as the hearts of men are turned to peace, and men will not have peace in their hearts until they no longer permit selfishness to be their ruling power.” ~ Joseph Anderson
How true that putting self first increases the likelihood of conflict instead of peace! When all we care about is what we want, we will resent and resist those who stand in the way.
“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” ~ Isaiah 54:13
The sooner we start, and the more consistent we are in filling our hearts with the good news of God, the more that knowledge can override the fears, doubts, or insecurities that often disrupt our inner peace.
“Men and nations may loudly proclaim, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there shall be no peace until individuals nurture in their souls those principles of personal purity, integrity, and character which foster the development of peace. Peace cannot be imposed. It must come from the lives and hearts of men.” ~ Thomas S. Monson
Though people often recognize that peace comes with a price, they mistakenly think it’s a price tag that a government or organization can exact from a body of people. But the real price is far more personal. Everyone has to buy in and live in such a way that peace is the expectation, the obvious natural consequence, not the artificially constructed end of negotiations.
Which isn’t me saying to abandon peace talks in the Middle East (or anywhere else on the planet). It isn’t me saying diplomacy is dead. It’s just that we need to keep the door open for the Spirit of the Lord to cut the deal because that’s what will ultimately make the difference in the world.