Building Peace


It’s like building a house. It doesn’t just happen. It takes design and deliberate effort. No one else is going to do this for us. We have to take the initiative and do the necessary work.

Our future depends on the seed we are sowing today. It’s the same as farming: what we plant is what we reap. If we plant exclusion from others, we reap misunderstanding and hostility. If we plant neighbourliness and connectivity, we reap relationships, understanding and peace.

If we see someone in need, the poor, or a stranger, and we do nothing, we are sowing seed of injustice, that will produce a harvest of anger and social breakdown.

When we sow instead kindness, mercy and neighbourly care, even to those who don’t repay it, we destroy the seed of bitterness in our communities.

We might say it is wise to give only to those from whom we expect a return, so we give only to our friends and kin. But if we give to those from whom we don’t expect a return, we get a return from God, which is peace. This is of the most value to us. This is the greatest return because it gives security to us and to our children.

Why did God say give to the poor and why did he say don’t charge interest, but forgive the debts of others? Because he knows that we then get something in return of far higher value: peace for our families and communities.

Individualism has taken us all down, as individualism leads us to strive for our own business, our own progress, our own kin. But we are all connected in community. Our own progress depends on the progress of us all. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We should not strive for our own corner or sect, but instead strive together for the tide that lifts all.

“Overcome evil with good.” When we repay evil with evil, we produce a cycle of never-ending evil. The mature and wise people must break this cycle. Don’t wait for others to do good. Break this evil cycle yourself. Men may call you foolish, but God and posterity will call you wise.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we repay eye for eye, soon everyone will be blind.” Martin Luther King Jr said, “If we cannot learn to live together as brothers, we will perish together as fools.” Never take revenge. If people do wrong, seek to find the reason they are violent and help them instead.

Build associations with others around you from different backgrounds.

Build communications between you. Never believe stories or rumours. Always talk to all parties and find out the truth on both sides.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” Be interested in the lives of your new friends from different backgrounds. Share with them in their joyous occasions and sorrows. This is being a neighbour.

Be patient when frustration, disappointment and trouble come. This is not the time to give up, or to go back to bad habits, but instead to double your efforts. Don’t let satan win. Defeat satan with goodness, kindness and patience.

Never take peace for granted, especially in good times. Always be building towards a peaceful future by acts of mercy towards all people, even towards your enemies, towards the poor, the widow and orphan, the sinner and the person who is having bad times.

 Always seek to restore your neighbour, never to judge them and cast them away. God has forgiven us. This is how we must forgive one another. This is peace.

Let’s not think of ourselves, or of our own importance, or our own position. Let’s not try to become superior over others. Let’s instead think of one another and the welfare of us all. This is peace.

Let’s be honest and just. What belongs to another, never take it for yourself. Let’s receive everyone who comes to us for help and try to good for them. This is peace. 

Let’s not store up riches for ourselves, but share will others, from the whole wider community. This is peace.

Let’s not build our own house, but a “house for our community.” This is peace.

The way to be able to forgive those who have hurt us, is to serve others in their hurt. Serving others and serving our enemy in their own hurt heals our own soul. The worst thing we can lose is not our property or our life, but our soul. Regaining our true soul is peace.

Sow good seed: reap a good harvest. Sow evil seed: reap an evil harvest. It is up to us.

God bless us all. God bless our included communities from all backgrounds. God bless Nigeria.

Prof. Kent Hodge

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