Peace has and shall continue to be elusive because humans keep on negotiating from strength. The man with the big stick is no longer a threat to the small man with a nuclear weapon. It does not matter how many long-range missiles one nation has. It matters how many lives it cares to lose. We are playing a game that no one can win because we may not be around to enjoy some victories. The rhetoric of superiority is not only harmful, but it is also senseless. It no longer intimidates those that dislike us but insults them. Our diplomats, politicians and world leaders keep adding oil to a fire when they should be extinguishing it. Curbing the provocative language alone would open doors to more acceptable ways to peace. Benjamin Franklin, the first diplomat of the USA, lived through such a time and concluded, "He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees" (Do. 184). James, half-brother of Jesus, appears to have influenced Benjamin, “If anyone thinks he is wise and does not control his tongue, he fools himself and ruins his own reputation (Ja. 1:26). He also was familiar with Jesus’ warning. “Why do you look for a speck in your brother’s eye when a log blocks your own sight? How can you tell your bother, ‘let me take out the speck’ when your own log disables you from removing the speck? You prove yourself dishonest by trying to correct your brother, when first you should correct your much larger fault” (Mt. 7:3-5). Using fault finding to reach an understanding is like feeding what is sacred to dogs or throwing pearls to swine. It insults the other party and the stronger one turns and tramples on the weaker one (Mt. 7:6).
Solomon's trouble was not with the people. He was popular and admired. They loved his liberal thinking and permissiveness. But that was precisely why he was in trouble with his religious convictions. They did not allow the clattering of his heart with foreign gods and wives. This cost his son the kingdom and the deterioration of his dynasty. Solomon ended up following his heart rather than the ordinances of the Lord. No matter how good the heart may feel, it cannot govern itself without principles or set laws. The heart does not always know what is best. It even amends laws at times to suit its own desires. A case in point was Moses' permission for a man to divorce his wife. He had yielded to the hardening of the heart of his fellow men and violated the law of God. Jesus corrected this error by insisting that God had made the union between a man and a woman and no one could separate them except infidelity (Mt. 19:1-9).
It was Helen Keller who wrote that the best and most beautiful things in the world could not be seen or touched but felt in the heart. The heart is like a deep ocean. There are many things beneath its surface. More than often, it is difficult to fish in the waters of the heart that are clouded by obstruction on the surface. Like the sea, the heart goes through stages of turbulence and calm. It is when it reaches these moments of serenity that it reveals its purity. It then becomes that instrument in man that can best perceive God. Jesus himself declared: "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" (Mt. 5:8).
Being merciful has a tremendous affect on a community. One kind act can mushroom into a multitude of kind deeds. According to James, by helping one member correct his erring ways, we cover a multitude of sins (Ja. 5:20). Jesus held that to return just one lost individual to his community brings joy in heaven (Lk. 15:1-10). It is not that these erring individuals deserve the mercy of a community, but that the community heals them by being merciful. For as long as one of its own is in disrepute, the entire community bears his stain. Paul the apostle urged the Corinthians to restore the offender to avoid further disaster and more serious consequences (II Cor. 2:5-11). By keeping the offender within the community, they could keep him from further hurting others and himself.