Sunday, February 14, 2021
God Gives Us Light To Find Our Way Home,
To Accept and Give Forgiveness Always to Everyone
So That All May Know Peace!
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
Words of Grace For Today
Peace is not the absence of conflict, nor the absence of violence even. Peace can coexist with both of these, though it works to pull us from violence to negotiation with each other, and from conflict with each other to harmony with (not each other) … with God’s Will for us.
CBC gave air time to a woman looking to organize mass fasting to call attention to domestic violence. She wanted those fasting to explain why they were hungry, and how terrible it is, now with Covid 19 restrictions, for women to be caught at home with their abusers. She wanted men to find a better model of what men can be. She wanted to call attention to the many, many women who are killed as a result of abuse.
All sort of good and well, as far as it goes. She seems to want, as many do, for us all to forget that ten times, got that, TEN TIMES! as many men die from violence as do women. Her project is a common one voiced today: women need to be protected from evil men. There are no good men, just evil men.
If similar things were said about women, their would be an uproar of denunciation of the misogyny. But no one even mentions that this woman’s statements devalue men, categorizing us all as abusers and as evil men who need to rethink who we are in order to become something better. No one voices the realization that this is misandry (the hatred of and devaluing of men.)
Make no mistake: some men kill women. AND some women kill men. Some use force, some use manipulation.
As if to make it sound like women are under greater threat, among other misandrist statements, it is said men are afraid a woman will laugh at him; women are afraid a man will kill her. The reality is when a woman laughs at a man, she devalues him, announces it for many to see, and taking his respect from him leaves him easy prey for both men and women bullies and abusers to kill him, if not directly with force then with psychological manipulation until there is nothing left of his life, not at all, not at all. The truth is men are as afraid of women killing him (often using men to accomplish the deed) as a women are afraid that men will kill them.
Abuse is abuse. Gender is not really a factor. Stereotypes are a serious problem because the mask the real issues with false issues.
That’s what is so terribly wrong with this woman’s campaign to get people to fast; it assumes all men kill women, and forgets that lots of women kill men, and regardless of who does the killing and how, many more men (ten times as many as women), our brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and grandfathers, are dying, murdered by others.
Peace is not to point fingers and eradicate the falsely identified murder or the murderers. Peace is much more profound. Peace, real peace, requires that we acknowledge true reality. Real peace is to first realize that a part of each of us contributes to the conditions and circumstances we all live under in our society. Peace is second to forgive ourselves and accept others’ forgiveness of us, and to accept God’s forgiveness (actually that has to come first before other forgiveness is possible.) Third, peace is to forgive others so that there is no more finger pointing or calling out for others to change. The change has to be made within each of us first, and we have to point to the other as already forgiven … so that they may choose to change. Fourth, peace asks of each of us that we be profoundly thankful that forgiveness is possible, that God starts us off down that path, again and again each day.
If we are going to fast (and some like me cannot fast without putting ourselves at great physical risk of needing hospitalization to recover or we die) then it is to fast quietly, for this is what we need most: an inward healing of our relationship with God, God’s creation and God’s creatures, especially other people.
If we are going to put on a campaign to raise awareness of injustice, and in particular avoidable murder, then we cannot tie that message to misogyny or misandry. That only exacerbates the underlying lies we tell ourselves about the polarized genders, which drives us further and further from any possible reduction of avoidable murder. It in fact raises the conflict to higher levels, which in turn gives rise to more pain, which gives rise to more violence (physical and psychological) and that leads to more destruction of people, including physical and psychological deaths.
We need models for real peace. God sent us Jesus to live that model for us. There are a great number of saints who have provided models as well. We need to remember the old, old story of Jesus and his love, and of the saints that teach us faith and real peace, giving us real hope. Remember the good examples (they were human so they were not perfect) of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Bonhoeffer, and many others. Above all begin each day remembering Jesus and his love, and all God does for us. From gratitude for all God’s blessing we can find our way to peace, even amidst conflict and violence and injustices all around us.