Live Your “Finest Human Qualities”

“The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith.” ~ John Foster Dulles … 

One need not look far to realize that the world spends a lot of money on war. Each year, countries set aside trillions of dollars on defense budgets–weapons and ammunitions, enhancements, training, research, maintenance, and other such related military spending. If you really think about it, a lot of time, effort, energy, and money gets spent on things that are intended to harm our fellow human beings. And why? Because we are afraid that we will be vulnerable to attack if we do not, or that we may be forced to live our lives in ways that others want us to? But what would happen if we instead were to spend the same amount of money, time, and effort pursuing peace?

Of course, there are those in this world with evil intentions, filled with malice and hate, and we should look to protect ourselves from such men. However, I might also argue that the most effective way to fight the evils of this world are with our “finest of human qualities,” and John challenges us here to do just that, to put our finest human qualities–peace, idealism, self-sacrifice, courage, perseverance, dedication, hard work, focus on accomplishment, mercy, forgiveness, and brotherhood–to work on lasting peace, regardless of the intentions of others. If we were to put these things into practice each day in our relationships, our communities, and our circles of influence, who knows just what we might be able to accomplish.

When we allow ourselves to tap into our reserves of qualities that are among the best we have, nearly everything is possible. We often see this in our lives when our survival instincts are stimulated–when our lives are in jeopardy or we are faced with tremendous difficulties and hardships. And yet it is unfortunate that we so often relegate these qualities to times of crisis and wait until adversity strikes to reach within ourselves to find these strengths. For they are strengths that could contribute greatly towards peace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion, in our families and communities–if only we were to apply them whenever they are needed, and not just in times of crisis.

Come up with a list of your “finest human qualities” and some ways in which you might better exhibit them in your daily life.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people not tap into their finest qualities every day in order to work towards lasting peace?

What does “lasting peace” mean to you? Is it just a pipe dream, or is it a possibility?

Who is responsible for lasting peace in our world? Is it just the leaders, or are more of us actually responsible for contributing to it?

For further thought:

“The way to mend the bad world, is to create the right world. . . . The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English Traits

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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