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Seek Peace and Pursue It
Learning Life's Lessons
"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14
"Come, my children, listen to me," the psalmist tells us. "Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. When we read these words, it all seems so simple. If it seems so simple, why is it so difficult? Why do we hurt each other with words? Why do we harbor feelings that only foster the type of hate that keeps us from living a life of peace?
These questions are truly million dollar questions. Christ commands us to love God and love neighbor, yet we harbor prejudices and continue to speak ill words against those that we believe would do us harm. I recently taught a class on the subject of cultural appreciation. The objective of the class was to help students understand the diversity that exists in our world. My class was small. Therefore, the size of the class enabled me to interact and really communicate with the students. One night during a discussion on race and prejudice, a student asked "Do you think we could ever have a world that is free of racism and hatred?" Good question...Now what is the answer?
Prejudice is a learned behavior. Children are taught to hate. In other words, what we say and do in front of children will have an effect on their worldview. Could this be the point that the psalmist is trying to make? "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."
Our words linger on even after they are spoken. In his book, Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell states that "even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime." This statistic is sobering, and with the advent of social media, the number is probably higher than ten thousand. The truth is that our words really do matter. With our words, we can spread love or we can spread hate. The choice is up to us.
So how did I answer my student's question? I simply said, "It starts with our children."