Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 18th, 2011 20:42 EST
Is Forgiveness the Foundation for Peace?

Is Forgiveness the Foundation for Peace?

By Ignatius Fernandez

 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.  Matt. 5 : 9

Sudan, the biggest country in Africa, is on the verge of a split - the predominantly Christian South breaking away from the Muslim North, to form a new nation. The prospect is exciting after five decades of conflict in which two million people lost their lives. For over 22 years the battle intensified, ending in a settlement in 2005. If it is honored by the North, there will be an end to hostility. Hopefully, Hate will limp out by the back door.

With this background, it is amazing that the leader of the South chose to speak as he did. Salva Kiir, addressing a thronging congregation on the 16th of January, at Saint Theresa`s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Juba said: For our deceased brothers and sisters, particularly those who have fallen during the time of struggle, may God bless them with eternal peace. And, may we, like Jesus Christ on the cross, forgive those who forcefully caused their deaths.

Will the North stop to ponder the words of Kiir? Will she respond in like fashion? Much will depend on how the peoples of the two parts respond to the voices of their leaders. But a good beginning has been made by Kiir. By forgiving his enemies, he has set the tone for lasting peace. Citing the example of Jesus on the cross, he has struck a responsive chord in the hearts of all who call themselves Christians. Perhaps, even non-Christians will be edified.

Peace is not established with the use of guns or the stroke of a pen, but by forgiving hearts. Peace is not won by waving white flags, but when white light dispels darkness in the heart. Peace is not maintained by soldiers patrolling streets, but by the quiet determination of people turning away from anger.

 Blessed are the peacemakers.