Words of Peace

All of us, if not most of us, have fallen prey to saying something that is offensive, although our intentions of saying it were pure. We may not have intended our words to be malicious in maligning another person’s disposition. Christian people are often accused of being intolerant and uncaring because we speak the truth but in doing so we don’t speak it in love. We say things that can be scathing and detrimental to the Gospel. Too often the truth we embrace is evil spoken of because we have communicated it in a manner that is not gracious and caring. Learning the importance of sowing a seed or a word of peace is absolutely necessary as we seek to build bridges and not barriers as believers in a hostile ungodly world.   

The story is told of a young boy named Heinz who lived in Europe in 1934. Hitler’s plague of anti-Semitism had infected the whole continent. Some would die. Heinz was a young Jewish lad who would learn through these difficult times how to use the power of sowing words of peace. The Bavarian village where Heinz lived had been overrun by Hitler’s thugs. Heinz’s father was a school teacher who had lost his job. All recreational activities had ceased and tension was mounting on the streets. Jewish families held onto their traditions like observing the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Old ways began to take on a new significance. As persecution grew, and blackened these ancient precepts the family held onto the mighty Rock of their Jewish tradition. The streets had become a battleground. Hitler’s youth roamed the suburbs looking for trouble and making mischief. Young Heinz had learned to cope, even when faced with a band of trouble makers, he would step to the other a side of the street, sometimes he would escape, sometimes not. One day in 1934 a pivotal confrontation occurred. Heinz found himself face to face with these thugs. A beating seemed inevitable. This time, however, Heinz walked away from the skirmish unhurt. He did not fight back, but he spoke up and convinced the mob that it was not necessary to argue or fight. His wise words of diplomacy quietened the crowd and kept a battle at bay. Heinz had learnt to use words to avoid conflict, and for a young Jew in Hitler dominated Europe it was a skill that had many opportunities to survive.   

Fortunately, Heinz’s family escaped from Bavaria and settled in America. Later in life Heinz downplayed the impact that his adolescent experience had on his development. But one wonders if Heinz could use these skills in diffusing hot tempered people in a more global way. His legacy became that of a bridge builder. He had learnt the power of a properly framed phrase or words of peace. And one has to wonder if his training to be such a diplomat came from his experience as a boy in Bavaria.   

You don’t know him as Heinz. You know him as Henry Kissinger who during his tenure as a foreign policy spokesman for the USA brought about peace in many troubled countries. There is power in words and there is no word more powerful than a word spoken in a desire to bring about peace and reconciliation. Never underestimate the power of your words. It will have a remarkable influence on those that hear you. You don’t have to compromise your faith and convictions, you need to disarm your opponent by demonstrating grace and goodwill. 

Ephesians 4:15 
“Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” 

Proverbs 15:1-2 
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” 

Proverbs 15:33 
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honour is humility.” 

Proverbs 16:32 
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” 

Proverbs 17:27 

“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”  

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