Sunday, October 16, 2005

Conflict and Peace

I finally started reading, April 1865: The Month That Saved America. I'm only half way through it but it's really good.

To hold the Union together, you not only have to beat the separatist army but extend a hand of love and fellowship at the same time. That is really hard to do when you're daily killing their sons and brothers and husbands. Abraham Lincoln had the hardest task of any US president and he managed it well.

Lincoln couldn't do it alone though. He needed a counterpart on the other side also willing to facilitate peace. Robert E. Lee over the course of the war had gained the admiration and respect of his soldiers and the entire south. He could have ordered his men to disperse and begin a guerrilla campaign to continue the fight when his army was about to fall to Grant. Southern president Jefferson Davis wanted to extend the fight that way. Lee chose peace and reconcilation. It took trust in a Union that had many crying for his head.

I also recently watched a documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Barak really did want peace. Yasser Arafat wanted it too but refused to take the risks that would begin the process. When Barak was voted out, Sharon came in and the peace process really had no chance. Sharon would talk of peace and then do everything in his power to undermine it. With Sharon and Arafat in power, peace had no chance. Arafat is now gone but Sharon is still around. When Sharon leaves will the new leadership on both sides really have a chance at peace?

It takes extroardinary people to make two warring sides forgive each other, Christ-like people. People who are willing to lose everything they have to ensure that others can gain. Hate and revenge have no place in the heart. And it can't be just the leaders. Everyone needs to take the higher road.


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