Today my friends I want to speak to you about the principles of Peace and Love, about Mercy and Forgiveness and how these can change our lives drastically. These are words that together ultimately are empty and mean absolutely nothing unless we fill them up with our deeds and prayers and make them whole. What is Peace? What is Love? What is Mercy? What is Forgiveness? 

To start, Peace as defined by Merriam Webster is  “a state of tranquility or quiet:” Tranquillity being the state of being tranquil which is to be “free from agitation of mind or spirit”. Peace is what I feel is necessary for us to build upon these other notions namely, Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness. Without peace as the foundation, it would be difficult for us to cultivate these pillars within our lives. It is the beauty of silence which springs forth from peace that enables us to make decisions, the decisions to be Merciful and Forgiving to be Loving. Remember brethren, as the book of Ephesians says in the Second chapter and fourteenth verse, that Christ “He himself is our peace”! This being so, we must live by his example and use peace as a means of discernment for when the evil one and the several workers of iniquity attempt to make us falter. By God’s grace let us remember to keep peace not only in our hearts but in our minds. 

Let us look now to that of Love. Love like God is an essence that is indescribable with the limited language of man; perhaps that’s why many christians around the world say that God is Love.  Let us quote 1 John Chapter 4 as I say “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” My friends, this is the most pressing matter within my own life. Since love is how we know God it is right to say for a period of time I did not Know my Eternal Father. Recently, I have been faced with adversities and have been challenged by several workers of iniquity and yet still I did not turn to our Lord God Jesus Christ. I was vain, I was cold, I was cut off spiritually. I used to blame this behavior on others, I was surrounded by a fog and did not understand yet that I was serving myself and not the Lord. I was loving myself and not the Lord. Often this generation speaks of Self-Love and Self-Care and although taking care of ones self is important it should never interfere with the taking care of our duties as Christians. As beings of Love. This love is defined as  “an assurance of affection” by Merriam Webster, affection being “a feeling of liking and caring for someone or something.” This can not be a feeling that pushes us off the narrow path of salvation. This can not be a feeling for worldly pleasure, too often we, and especially myself, use love to our own benefit. As a matter of fact, when you take a philosophy course the instructor will eventually try and disprove the idea of love as being selfless. They would convey that we only love to make ourselves feel better. This is not so, we love to be christlike. And frankly to be christlike is to suffer but with a purpose, the purpose of this suffering on Earth is for our eventual salvation. Remember in 1 Corinithians Chapter 13? Do you remember what it says in the first verse? St. Paul writes there, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”. You see, without love who are we truly? We lose the beauty in which Almighty God has blessed us with and become nothing more than a distraction to ourselves and our peers. This same chapter continues to say in the second verse, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” Family, we are simply nothing without Love.  We do not know God without the function of Love within our lives. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

This mercy is one of the hardest words to fill, when wronged it is almost an immediate thought at times to return the wrong to the doer. It is easiest to explain this great pillar through the parable of Forgiveness in the Church found in the Book of Matthew within the eighteenth chapter. It reads starting at the twenty-first verse “ Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the Kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and the payment be made. The Servant therefore fell down before him saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all’. Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt  because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry and delivered him to tortueres until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (Matthew 18:21-35) So my friends, in this you see illustrated through the words of our lord the importance of mercy. We who have sinned since leaving our mothers womb, we who were conceived in sin, have no right to uncover the sins of another yet alone exploit and inflict suffering on our peers for it. We must learn to be kind and loving. Mercy is defined by merriam webster in two ways in which both apply to this concept the first being that mercy is “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power” Forbearance being the “refraining from the enforcement of something that is due” The second being mercy is “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion” Let us live with this compassion for one another and let us today make the decision to rid ourselves of hypocrisies and to be kind and merciful to one another. It is likely that you have acted in wickedness yourself in the past and do not have the right to be a mighty judge today. 

We end now with forgiveness, similar to Mercy, Forgiveness is a word that means the act of forgiving, forgiving being “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)” In this my friends I do not quote a scripture that speaks directly of forgiveness and its faculty but instead I quote a piece of scripture so powerful and so potent and full of forgiveness it alone is the conclusion to this entire meeting. In the book of John in the third chapter we behold a wonderful revelation. Written in AD 96 we see that St. John the Theologian wrote “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” This alone, the greatest act of forgiveness by the hands of our Father who art in heaven.

Glory to God, thank you.

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