Resources for the members of the United Church of God

War and Peace

You are here

War and Peace

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
A few years ago, a group of my family members and I searched for and found the gravesites of our ancestors in Gros Arnsdorf, East Prussia (now Jarnoltowek, Poland). One of the most interesting things we found during our trip was a sign posted on the outside of a brick wall that read “Immanuel Kant – 1754.” The sign was of great interest to us, because five of us had studied some of Kant’s work at university. The German Enlightenment philosopher apparently taught as a tutor in this house in his younger days. Toward the end of his life, Kant wrote a large essay called “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch.” In this work he made an astonishing statement. He wrote: “The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state; the natural state is one of war. This does not always mean open hostilities, but at least an unceasing threat of war.” We can read history books and see an endless series of wars. A lasting peace among states does not seem to exist for long; they are either at war, resting from war or getting ready for war. Kant’s conclusion was remarkable, as it was written over 200 years ago and reflects the history of the world up until today. A Natural State of War Nations or states can develop good relationships, but all of that depends on who is in charge and what pressures or forces act on them. States want control and power. They seek wealth, honor and respect. They want a voice in the world. Ideologies develop that change people. For instance, Hitler taught his citizens that they were the “superior race.” That changed the behavior of many people toward their neighbors. The death of a ruler, corruption that has been uncovered, propaganda, financial setbacks or threats from perceived enemies all impact states. Our newspapers are filled with accounts of events that have changed and shaped history. Some religious leaders infuse the minds of their people with the belief that they and only they have the truth and with it, a mandate from God to act on His behalf. Because of this, many have argued that more wars have been fought over religion than almost any other cause. Even if states have come to a time of peace, another generation will come along continuing the cycle of war. It seems we shuttle between war and peace in a constant motion. As George Santyana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Whether we speak of individuals, groups or states, the same thinking pattern rings true. The Carnal Mind at Work War is natural for states, but is this statement also true for individual people, families or tribes? Is the state of war indeed the natural state for man? God tells us that we humans do not know the way of peace (Romans 3:17 Romans 3:17And the way of peace have they not known:
American King James Version×
). That does not mean we do not seek peace or that many do not want peace. It only means that although we seek peace, other factors prevent peace from happening and continuing. James 4:1-3 James 4:1-3 [1] From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? [2] You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. [3] You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts.
American King James Version×
was directed towards the members of the Body of Christ, people who are converted and now striving to live Christ-like lives. Yet James asks: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” If those who are dedicated to following Christ have issues with wars and fighting, should we wonder that it truly does apply to individuals, families, tribes and states? Paul also noted the condition within the Church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 3:3 1 Corinthians 3:3For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?
American King James Version×
Paul wrote: “For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” Jesus Christ set the standard by His life and by His teachings. He told His followers that they were not to be like the rest of this world. In a marriage relationship, so many aspects of life are shared that it should be considered the best chance for living in peace. Brothers and sisters, relatives or close friends can develop good relationships. But things change, people change, and circumstances change. Those changes very often interfere with living side by side peacefully. On an individual basis, changing habits, lengthy separations, illness or frustrations can lead to a change in peaceful harmony. Jealousy, coveting what others have and a growing desire for power, respect, honor or wealth all change a person. Those changes often cause division between the closest of friends. Many have witnessed family tensions when inheritances are not deemed to be “equal.” Families can be torn apart. Jesus’ Standard of Peace Jesus Christ gave a different mandate for behavior to mankind. His followers are to strive to live by His words. He said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 Matthew 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
American King James Version×
). It takes a great deal more courage and inner strength to become a peacemaker than it does to declare war. In marriage, a wise mate focused on maintaining peace will be alert to the times when his or her spouse is having a “bad day.” He or she will realize that things like illnesses, headaches, toothaches, worry and fear can affect us all, and will be understanding to changes in mood or health. Peter admonishes us to have a fervent love for one another (1 Peter 4:8 1 Peter 4:8And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
American King James Version×
). It is difficult for two people, two groups or two states to live together in peace. God also knows this and has declared that the Prince of Peace must come to take over the governments of this world—to order it and establish it (Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×
). He and only He has the right, correct and perfectly just way of living. Every other way leads to the wars the world has experienced. To end all wars, Christ will rule with all the strength and power necessary (Revelation 12:5 Revelation 12:5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.
American King James Version×
). He will overcome the evil forces on this earth, and there will finally be a lasting and perpetual peace. The target will be justice for all—a goal that reaches into eternal life for all humans. Meanwhile, let us all put every effort into the goal of extending the peace in our own lives and relationships until He comes. UN

You might also be interested in...

Where will you spend eternity? Floating idly on clouds in heaven or as part...