What is pacifism?

Yesterday, Brother Jonathan asked me in a comment if I was a pacifist. I couldn’t answer that immediately until I did some dictionary work and even some pondering. Today I’m more sure but not positive I have a definitive answer. It’s funny how being an advocate for peace can be labeled as pacifism. Pacifism has a weak connotation. For some folks pacifism and passivity are synonymous. I am active in my peace work. I sign most if not all of my posts with “Peace”. Gandhi once said, “there is no way to peace, peace is the way.” I must find peace within myself before I can bring it to the world around me. It’s difficult. When I’m wronged my first reaction is to defend myself. I want to get even, but I know that getting even actually will produce more discord and I’m always the person who suffers the most from any discord. Therefore pacifism at least the way I practice it is active. The Lord’s Prayer says, “forgive us our trespasses just as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This prayer is ascribed to Jesus himself. Therefore if I’m going to really follow Jesus I have to forgive others. There are no exceptions. There will be difficulties with forgiveness no doubt. I have found it most helpful to pray for those who have wronged me. It is difficult at times. Sometimes I have to pray for a long time and for many days or even months but eventually my prayers bring the desired results. I find that eventually my attitude toward the person, persons or institutions are actually changed by prayer.

Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.–St. Matthew

Peace and all good to you.

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About Don Watkins

I'm a FOSS advocate, writer, educator, Python coder, Linux user, US Navy Veteran, Secular Franciscan, husband,father and grandfather. I blog about my life and experiences that give it meaning.
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