We’ve already covered that I believe in God. And this is certainly a time of year where there is more of an acceptance to have God and Jesus in your language and your life. More people attend church and more people admit their belief in God and his son this time a year than any other. My family attends a home church led by a qualified educated ordained Minister. And last week we talked about Christmas and what a high percentage of people say when queried ‘what do you want for Christmas?’ The group believed that most people will answer with ‘Peace on Earth.’ The gist of our fall on conversation was that peace has to start with us. You, me, them, us…or how would Peace on Earth even be possible?
And that made me think, because a peaceful heart must be tied to a forgiving heart. And if absolute forgiveness includes wanting that person to have good things, have I absolutely forgiven so that there is peace for them, for me, for us? I can admit to not wishing bad things for people I felt harmed by, I have not however, wanted good things for them. In fact I probably relished the fact that somewhere along the line they would be repaid for how they had trespassed against me. So here is the question, if my desire is peace on earth what am I doing to create that and be an example of that? Well, I will share that I am not doing all of the work necessary to create that peace. I am likely leaving out the really hard stuff because I don’t want to let go of that final bit of hurt or judgement. Because let’s face it, hanging on to that keeps me right and I like to be right.
This feels so relevant at this time of year when everyone is saying or singing it…”Peace on Earth”. And equally as relevant for leaders, and remember we are all leaders. And I can speak from experience that in situations of family or work that lack peace, I have absolutely complained about it and absolutely contributed to it. That for me was an Oprah Ah-ha moment. There are a few that I have not absolutely forgiven. There are plenty I have but that doesn’t matter when there is even one I have not. And I feel like I have to constantly forgive these people and the truth is I don’t know if I am courageous enough to wish/want/hope/pray for good things for them. But I will commit myself in 2014 to try harder.
Then it struck me what if the one person you haven’t forgiven absolutely is you? What if you don’t really truly wish/want/hope/pray for good things for yourself? And if you are not peaceful in and of yourself how on ‘earth’ does that translate in your life and your impact on your team? I bet it shows itself in ways you don’t know, I bet it shows up when you get stuck in traffic, when one of your team abuses the system or when someone lies to you…I bet it shows up a lot. Because somewhere down deep you think you are experiencing the pay back for your own trespasses. I don’t think it really works that way. I do think that it may look like the Universe is paying people back, but let’s face it, people who make bad decisions or treat people badly will at some point encounter someone more hurt than they are and will bear the brunt of that persons bad decisions and poor treatment. So isn’t it us paying each other back? I’m not convinced there is a retribution force out there as much as there is a cascade of misguided defiance that results in more pain before change.
I think the end of the calendar year is a great time to take stock. A great time to assess what you’ve done, what went well and what didn’t, what to change, what to challenge and what to let go of. Maybe our New Year’s resolution should be, simply, peace. That each of us individually resolves to be peaceful, to create peace, to endorse peace, to be an example of peace. And if we each accepted that challenge what would our world look like? What ‘on earth’ would be possible?
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Ghandi
Wishing you all a ‘peaceful’ 2014.