Once there was a universal soldier, strong and brave, and the defender of freedom, and the rights of mankind.
One day a leader told him to kill or severely injure other people to make the world safer and he’d be rewarded with medals of valor and with everlasting fame.
“But I’m a compassionate person,” the soldier answered. “How can killing and hurting others bring peace to the world?”
“Our enemies are evil,” the leader replied. “And killing them will rid the world of them. And their injured will be testimony to our military might and they will fear us. This violence is necessary for peace.”
“How can violence bring peace,” the soldier asked. “When it sows the seeds of misery, hate, fear and revenge? And it violates everyone’s religious scripture.”
But the leader didn’t answer this question. “If you won’t do it,” he roared. “I’ll find others who will. Others who will die for the cause.”
“If you truly want peace,” the soldier replied. “You’ll seek it through peaceful means. People view me as strong and brave because I have the courage to put down my weapons and open my heart to the victims of injustice.
“I fight hate with love, ignorance with knowledge and fear with faith and reassurance,” said the soldier. “I would only raise a weapon as an absolute last resort and with great sorrow for I would be brutalizing God’s creations.”
“They’re your enemies,” shouted the leader. “No,” responded the soldier. “They’re my brethren. I fight for the weak and for the voiceless and for the oppressed and I fight for the children of all of mankind. And God has given me many non-violent weapons with which to do that.
“I’ll fight ignorance by building schools. I’ll fight sickness by building hospitals. I’ll fight hunger by building well irrigated, highly efficient farms, for the right to eat is God given. I’ll fight revenge by bringing together all my brethren so they will get to know each other and see the light that binds everyone of us together.”
“They’ll kill you for trying,” replied the leader sarcastically. “Perhaps,” answered the soldier. “But they’ll kill me and put my children and all of the children of my nation at great risk if my response is to try to kill them and kill their children.”
“You’re just an idealist and what you propose is impossible,” the leader sneered.
“Do you believe peace is God’s desire for us all,” asked the soldier. “Yes,” said the leader. “Then how can what God desires be impossible,” replied the soldier.
“God gave us hope,” the soldier continued. “And we have his teachings and the ability to love and nurture all people the world over. It’s up to us to act, as we practice the Golden Rule and do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
“If we commit ourselves to solving the underlying problems of poverty, ignorance, oppression and fear, we will bring meaning to many otherwise desperate lives,” the soldier added. “And defuse their will to harm us. Something as simple as providing jobs could uplift us all as those who work have a sense of purpose, and we can all make use of what they create.”
“It would cost too much money to do that,” bellowed the leader.
“It’s the price of peace,” said the soldier. “For it doesn’t come free. And the only way we’ll have it, whether from abroad or in our inner cities, is to invest the money we now spend on war to uplift our fellow human beings. If we want a better, safer world for our children this is a choice we must make, for I cannot and will not fight everybody in the name of peace.”
The leader began to shift around uncomfortably in his chair.
“Tell me,” the soldier added as he looked into the eyes of the leader, “How much is a human life worth? What is human dignity worth? What is the value of a peaceful and loving world?”
The leader had no answer to these questions, and in a huff replied, “I’m busy and I’m out of time. I’ve got a war to prepare for.”
The soldier rose and walked out of the leader’s office. He then turned to you and me, and said, “I risk my life and the well being of my family for you. If you will now raise your voice for me together we can bring peace to the world and a better life for mankind, not with arms but with open arms.”