forgiveness • peacemaking • reconciliation
equality • poverty • missions


A Call to (Open) Arms

August 14, 2019 by

A lot of us got a shock recently, when World War III looked imminent. Things have cooled off a bit since the ramping up of troop presence near Iran, but it was a vivid reminder of the incredible military build-up in today’s world, and the seeming eagerness of some to employ it.

Meanwhile, suicide by drugs is ramping up right here in our United States, impacting the young most, but not exclusively. Isn’t this where our attention should be? Perhaps we need a war on despair, not on so-called “rogue nations” – which we are in danger of joining if we beat the drums of provocation too loudly.

A war on despair needs different weapons from warships and bombs, attack drones and assault rifles. Those are of no use. No, this war calls for patience and prayer, encouragement and fortitude. This war calls for compassion and time invested.

This war also calls for a selfless listening to the anguish, confusion, and confessions of those who are suicidal or headed that way. This war calls for the courage that dispenses with political correctness in the desire to truly be there for others and offer sage counseling, not pop psychology. The war on despair is a daily struggle, but one that should bring deep joy and satisfaction – yes, and meaning and purpose. 

Shape of a man standing near a colorful wall mural

I have a hunch that World Wars and massacres only happen because of greed. Racist and nationalist passions are only fanned into flame because people come to the end of the road in tormented lives and are easily manipulated by those who stand to profit. They are bound by tradition, burdened by guilt, and see no way out but violence against a demonized enemy.

And the war profiteers themselves are victims too. Their greed is the diabolical addiction of desperate men who, like the young Scrooge, have lost their humanity in the search for glittering gold or power. The war-mongers are addicts who have lost the ability to love, empathize, or think of anyone beyond themselves.

We become peacemakers by the healing of our own inner selves. Compassion is what makes us human.

We all stand as broken people, misled by false gods and in deep need of the justice that rolls down into the soul, of the healing waters that revive a ravaged heart. And in allowing ourselves to be helped and rescued we become part of the solution. We become peacemakers by the healing of our own inner selves. It is a personal decision to take the time to stop in your tracks and be renewed in your innermost heart. Compassion is what makes us human. Any victory we achieve is meaningless if we execute it in the ferocious rage of despair or the cold hate of vengeance.

So let us all be warriors, but of the best kind, who abolish the roots of war with unrelenting kindness and the sheer joy of an unjudging, carefree heart. You’ll find me on the frontlines, because the frontline is everywhere when you attack discouragement and despair.

Bring a sense of humor and a book of Psalms, and you’re all set.


About the author

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer is a free-thinking Anabaptist, would-be poet who lives at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof.

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  • Thank you Simon, this was a good read....

  • How wonderful to hear such love and truth spoken. You should be in The White House, Houses of Parliament and all major cities of the world speaking to the leaders of the world. Unfortunately Jesus tried this and no one listened to him but we shouldn't stop speaking. God Bless you,

    Jacquie Watson
  • Simon, this is so good! I love your ability to accentuate what really matters. There is a frontline but it’s mainly void of those who understand what is truly needed. Your words ring with power and truth. Thank you for sharing!