Anyone who tells you that world peace is attainable in this life is, in my opinion, delusional. Now I'm not saying that wanting world peace isn't a noble desire, but if we do a quick check of world history, there never has been a time in which this existed. Wars, famine, heinous rulers have always been a part of the historical landscape. Even in the Bible we find this from practically day one.
The famous first couple, Adam and Eve, after being banished from Paradise have two sons, Cain and Abel. And, before you know it, over the course of just a few verses, one kills the other. End of story, so much for world peace. Here's the whole passage if you are interested Genesis 4:1-15.
Hmmm, I just re-read that passage and something just jumped out at me which really better explains what I want to say (God beat me to the punch! Go figure.). This is God talking to Cain right before he kills Abel.
4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.So God right off the bat says, and I'm paraphrasing, "Hey, don't be mad. I saw your intentions, and they weren't good. Sin lies at the door of your heart and it wants to come in and rule you. Don't let it." Unfortunately, Cain didn't apply these words to himself, has a chat with his brother where his jealousy culminates and results in fratricide. It is this very inability to manage our sinful inclinations that keeps us from achieving world peace, and it was there from the start.
6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Now I really didn't intend on this post being a bummer by calling everyone a sinner, but I think the point I'm trying to get to is that is we really want world peace, it has to start with ourselves first. And honestly, it is so much more than "accepting" other people's lifestyles/religions/political views and not acting violently against them. For while we may say one thing in public, oftentimes in our hearts, it is quite another story.
Using myself as an embarrassing example, I recently heard that someone who I don't particularly care for (I have judged their past actions as mean and uncaring) had something really terrific happen to them. Outwardly I said "Oh, that's fabulous!" but inwardly I wasn't happy for them, and in fact, I was angry and jealous of their good fortune. Ouch! Sounds like I have some resentment issues. Remember this about love from St. Paul's famous 1 Corithians 13?:
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Yep, I pretty much did the exact opposite of all the things listed here. Conclusion: I did not react in love and where there is no love, there is no peace.
So, it seems to me that to have peace there is much more to it than not having wars or conflicts, it's an actual change where your first reaction to someone else's good fortune is genuine happiness without a hint of envy. Or in a negative situation, it is when someone slaps you on the cheek, you don't hit back physically, or verbally or, most importantly, IN YOUR HEART. Resentments can run very deep and will disturb your peace.
So then, what is the answer? How do we banish resentments and curtail the madness which adds to the existing chaos of the world and acquire genuine loving peace? Well, as you can well imagine, I don't personally have the answers, see said example above. However, I know some people who do. Details to follow shortly.