Peace without Truth is impossible, because Truth is an indispensable part of peace. And therefore, it is so important that we understand what Truth really is in relation to peace.
Is Truth a Price to pay or a Gift?
In a previous editorial I wrote: “For peace someone always pays. Many people today are no longer aware that the EU began as a peace project. The founding fathers never wanted such a horrible war again. So, they gave up rights to each other’s to prevent war.” The price they willingly paid.
To take this further I would say they gave a gift. They gave the other parties the gift to always know the Truth about their production of steel and coal, the basics to build canons. And being Truthful made peaceful relationships possible.
This was a costly step and the founding fathers’ nations took years to understand and process this. But it healed many hearts and made friendships across national boundaries possible.
Sadly, this thought has largely vanished from today’s EU thinking. Economics and money are in the forefront and so it has become a “what can I get out of this project” with peace evaporating more and more.
Truth in order to Shame or in order to Restore?
Part of making a peaceful transition from Apartheid to the present South Africa was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.
In both instances, restoration was based on the understanding that only if Truth was brought to light reconciliation would be possible. This came at the cost of much pain for all involved. But the Truth set people free, as Jesus promises. And reconciliation took place as a foundation for peaceful living together.
There are many areas in the world where the Truth is still being hidden. People hide the Truth so as not to face reality and to avoid the shame that comes when Truth is revealed. Other people simply do not wish for reconciliation. Re-visiting the past is too painful and hate has very deep roots. Sadly, many people see Truth as a threat and fear the shame. They do not enter a process to bring things to the light. We should therefore not be surprised that peace is far from them.
What is your experience of Truth?
Was Truth a weapon to keep you in line? Was it there to shame you? Where you threatened with Truth or put under pressure (I will tell others if you do not …)? Was Truth associated with punishment, with pain, with fear? Many of us have probably experienced at least part of this. Should we be surprised that our relationships and expectations in all areas of life are marked by this. Sadly, this makes us both victims and wrongdoers. This is the case unless we have experienced Truth as a healing power and as part of peace and reconciliation.
Truth and Relationships
Do we allow Truth to work in and through us? Or do we hide from it, afraid of what it might reveal? When we understand Truth as more than just a concept but rather as a Person, then Truth becomes a way to salvation and to freedom. A prominent person in history asked: “What is Truth?” and only saw it as a “thing”. An even more prominent person said about himself: “I am the way, the Truth and life”, pointing to a relationship. May our relationship with the Truth be lived and experienced fully in this season of Ascension and Pentecost; a time we are reminded of the power from above who makes us bold witnesses of the Truth.
True Truth is about Peace and Reconciliation, making possible a Relationship with God and with the people(s) He created.