As I’ve mentioned before: in Hebrew the word for sin means missing the mark. This is becoming a crucial, central concept in my understanding of building a world of Peace.
We’ve all missed the mark. The response to that is to analyze how that happened, what actions might bring you closer to the mark and try again — remembering of course that you might need to include an apology if someone has been wounded by your actions.
Of course, there are those, who may see this as an opportunity to puff it away with a dismissive, “hey, I just missed the mark.” As in ‘what’s the big deal?’ as if that in itself is an excuse, rather than a simple truth. Hitting our mark requires practice. It requires recalibrating what we did setting a goal, making an action plan, taking action and not being sloppy about improvements.
We encounter this everywhere. I particularly notice it in the course of those arriving in the hospital trauma bay. Much of what causes trauma includes a person’s missing the mark, having results that were not intended — and perhaps not having thought far enough to have intentions. Accidents happen. How can we lower the risk? Too often, after missing the mark, the individual who inflicted the pain will direct attention to their “contrition” — with the goal of making others feel so sorry for them that they do not need to be held accountable for the actions that victimized another.
It’s true: most of us are not yet fluid in our Peacemaking. If we’re just beginning to think of ourselves as Peacemakers, we’ll make mistakes. We’ll miss the mark. Peace is an invitation. We may not always be gracious or aware in our inviting. For all the years I’ve dedicated toward Peace, I still have over seven decades of acculturation from the privilege my education and white skin afforded me. The Peacepath is filled with obstacles to stumble over. Peace is an exploration that requires humility and deep interest in the Beloved we may only just now be meeting. What looks like Peace to them? How do we make space for our differences?
How could we not have places in that Peacemaking where we miss the mark? If we want Peace, let’s commit to noticing our missteps, apologizing to our fellow wanderers upon whose toes we tromped, and inviting support in understanding how we might hit the mark and change the mark so it includes everyone’s understanding.
Peacemaking is never going to be easy. But it is Joyous. It will change our lives and it will change the world. Peace offers choices we may never have considered, and won’t — until we discover new ways to make Peace!
If we count our successes and learn from them, we’ll gain the confidence to examine our missteps and explore how to avoid those mistakes. Then let’s live our lives more proactively, so we’re not missing the same marks.
Any way we do it, if we’re really Peacemaking, we’ll be stumbling along together… “traveling along, singing a song, side by side” (song by Kay Starr) Sounds a lot like fun, doesn’t it?
Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.