Which Peace Are You Choosing:
That of Christ or that of the World?
By Dér Stépanos Dingilian, Ph. D.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (St. John 14:27) This is what Christ stated to his Disciples at the Last Supper. So what is this “peace” that Christ gives the believer that the world cannot give? How is the “peace” that Christ gives different than that of the world, and why cannot the world give “peace” as Christ gives? Let us compare and contrast these.
First, the “peace” that Christ gives the human being is an intimate harmonious relationship with the Creator of the Universe, the compassionate Go the Father of all creatures and creation. If one were to live the Christian Way of Life, everything that he or she intends, thinks, and does will be in tune and harmony with the will of God, which in turn will be for the permanent betterment of all humanity for all ages. Take for instance that which the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Apostles, St. Gregory the Illuminator or St. Narékatzee accomplished: Though thousands of years have passed, yet what they have done to raise the spiritual standard of humanity is still as fresh and effective today as it was centuries ago. Being part of such an elevation of the relationship between God and humanity is a life giving connection that brings “peace” to a person’s or community’s life because it elevates the human being from a mere mortal creature to a reflection of God the immortal Creator, leading Christ to liken them to “sons of God.” However, such is not the “peace” that the world offers. By the term “world” it is meant those who do not acknowledge their Creator and Source of life as God, and do not accept the revealer of this relationship as Christ the Savior. Instead, they see themselves and their organizations, as opposed to God, as the “creators” of law, order, and civilization in humanity. Consequently, in order to establish their supremacy as those who can bring “peace” to the world, such persons and groups continuously oppress others and bring chaos and conflict upon them. In that way, they, the false and hypocritical preachers of “peace,” will establish themselves as “gods,” as the only and the supreme source of law, order, and progress in society. In other words, the “worldly peace” is nothing more than a power struggle – a struggle by a group of people to bring misery into the life of others so they outshine all humanity, and appear as though they are the champions of “peace.” All these hypocrites can do is offer deception, destruction, and hopelessness. So whereas the “peace” that Christ offers brings unity and harmony in the life of humanity and raises their standard of life, the “peace” that the world gives is merely a power struggle by human organizations who try to oppress and suppress others in order for them to appear as better than others. Put in another way, whereas the “peace” that Christ gives elevates and inspires the human being and society, the “peace” that the world offers oppresses and demoralizes them.
Second, those who seek the “peace” as Christ offers spend their efforts looking inwardly in order to strengthen their relationship with God, which in turn would help them become more understanding, compassionate, and helpful people towards others. This is the meaning of the commandment that Christ gave: “Love one another as I have loved you.” In contrast, the “peace” as the world gives focuses outside of one’s own person and attempts to create conflict and misery in others so their own misery and hypocrisy would not become apparent. The intent of such “worldly” groups is to keep humans from finding their true source of peace in God, so they can be more easily manipulated in the midst of confusion and lack of direction. So who would these hypocrites and deceivers who make false promises of peace try to oppress first? First and foremost they would try to oppress those who have peace as Christ offers! Why? Because those who attain and maintain peace as Christ offers are the ones who reveal to all humanity the fallacy and emptiness of the promises proclaimed by those “worldly” oppressors who bring darkness and ignorance in the name of peace. Those who have the peace as Christ gives are the lights that shine in the darkness and reveal the deception of those offering peace as the world gives. Consequently, the more peaceful a follower of Christ becomes, the more he or she is persecuted by the deceivers so their hypocrisy and deception is not revealed. For this reason, when Christ revealed his path for peace, he told his Disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (St. John 14:27)
Third, once we recognize the “peace” as Christ gives, what can we do in order to make it grow? We can become “peacemakers” by helping others recognize the Source of Life, God the Father, and open a path towards growth through His Son, Jesus the Christ. This is the essence and mission of the Christian Way of Life: To be a peacemaker. Only when a person, a family, or a community has the peace as Christ offers and works at bringing this peace into the life of others, only then they experience love, joy, and fulfillment. Otherwise, if human beings do not have this peace and do not try to become peacemakers from a Christian perspective, then their life becomes empty, boring, and without direction. Furthermore, those who try to deceive people into the worldly peace, capitalize on this very emptiness in people’s life by creating false means of entertainment, meaningless goals in life, and empty relationships so humanity will remain in chaos, and not challenge their empty promises and tyrannical means. And again such deceivers will try to oppress, persecute, and keep in the dark those who attain peace as Christ gives, so their deceptive oppression in the name of peace will not be exposed. But as the Gospel states: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (St. John 1:5)
So the question arises for us: Are we seeking peace as Christ gives, or are we seeking peace as the world gives? The catch is that we will get the “peace” that we are looking for – either that of Christ or that of the world. The peace as Christ gives leads to joy and fulfillment in life and relationships, whereas the peace that the world offers can only lead to greater betrayal, frustration, misery, and disgust. So who are we listening to, who is the role model we are following, and which “peace” are we striving for, – that of Christ or that of the world?