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painting of water by Carl Larsson

Insights on Peacemaking

from Charles Spurgeon, Jeannette Rankin, Pastor André Trocmé, Peace Pilgrim, and Albert Schweitzer

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Charles Spurgeon

It should ever be remembered that we have no war against persons, and that the weapons which we use are not such as are forged for the deadly conflicts of mankind. The wars of a Christian are against principles, against sins, against the miseries of mankind, against that Evil One who has led man astray from his Maker. Our wars are against the iniquity which keeps man an enemy to himself. The weapons that we use are holy arguments and consecrated lives, devotion and prayer to God, teaching and example.… Ours is battling for the peace, and fighting for rest. We disturb the world to make it quiet, and turn it upside down to set it right.… We have no sympathy with any other war, but count it an evil of the direst sort, let it be disguised as it may.

painting of Fishing by Carl Larsson

Jeannette Rankin

Boundaries are contacts as well as limits. At what point do the interests of our country meet and possibly conflict with those of other countries? What are our real interests anyway and are they worth a war for their protection? And are the interests in question those of the nation as a whole or merely those of a small group of men or even of a single man? Are such clashes anyway settled better by heat and conflict or by a reasonable adjustment?

Pastor André Trocmé

Perhaps it is true that certain violent remedies employed against tyrants have put an end to certain forms of evil, but they have not eliminated evil. Evil itself will take root elsewhere, as we have seen through history. The fertilizer that stimulates its growth is yesterday’s violence. Even “just wars” and “legitimate defense” bring vengeance in their train. Fresh crimes invariably ensue. But the future of the person who turns to God is not determined by the past, and therefore neither is the future of humanity. God’s forgiveness creates the possibility of an entirely new future. The cross breaks the cycle of violence.

Peace Pilgrim

No one walks so safely as one who walks humbly and harmlessly with great love and great faith. For such a person gets through to the good in others (and there is good in everyone), and therefore cannot be harmed. This works between individuals, it works between groups, and it would work between nations if nations had the courage to try it.

Albert Schweitzer

We live in a time when the good faith of peoples is doubted more than ever before. Expressions throwing doubt on the trust­worthiness of each other are bandied back and forth.…We cannot continue in this paralyzing mistrust. If we want to work our way out of the desperate situation in which we find ourselves, another spirit must enter into the people.…We must approach them in the spirit that we are human beings, all of us, and that we feel ourselves fitted to feel with each other; to think and will together in the same way.

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