Sunday, April 02, 2017

Law, Not War? Rather, Love! (By Peter Black)

He and his wife have given millions of dollars for charitable purposes, yet they live in a small, modest bungalow in Florida. Ben came to North America from Eastern Europe in poverty and said he plans to finish his life that way.
Benjamin Ferencz.
Credit: Washington Post
His wife suffers from dementia, and his attentiveness and presence helps comfort and keep her stable. When he’s absent from her side, she misses him greatly. And so, this retired lawyer turns down numerous requests from around the world asking him to address conferences and speak at universities. That’s love.

Credit: Washington Post
Ben (Benjamin) Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials that were held shortly after the end of World War II. At only twenty-seven years of age he was appointed chief prosecutor of the Nazi extermination squads, considered the biggest murder trial in human history. Now at the age of ninety-seven his passion for peace-making burns as fervent and bright as ever!
Ferencz was Anna Maria Tremonti’s guest on CBC’s The Current, on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. I listened, intrigued by his personality, life and passion. He doesn’t take vacations, but continues to educate, inform and influence others as best he can, even though no longer touring the world. His mantra asserts that “Law, not War” and persistent education and resolution of conflicts is the better way. Armaments won’t do it, he insists.

Ben Ferencz’s passion reverberates in my mind today and somehow interacts with my own thoughts and journey during this meditative season of Lent.

Inter-church Lenten services are held in my community. I’m inspired by them and thoroughly appreciate fellowship with people from other denominational affiliations.
Sure, we may differ in some doctrinal particulars and practises. Fact is though, that God is not beholden to me and neither are those people. But, I am beholden to God and it is incumbent on me to recognize His grace as extended towards and expressed through those who believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour, who gave His life and shed His blood to redeem us from our sins and reconcile us to God.

I feel the warmth of fellowship “in Christ” with many, regardless of race and colour, and we mutually embrace each other as Christ-followers. That’s also love.
We hear much about mistrust, anger and hate directed towards “the other,” in our society and in the world at large, today. In harmony with Mr. Ferencz, I acknowledge that information and education can play a part, and that laws banning expressions of hate and hateful acts might help.

Trailer Credit: maxresdefault ; YouTube
I admire and appreciate what I’ve learned of this remarkable human being, Ben Ferencz. The film, A Man Can Make A Difference, tells his story. I’m sure the world is a better place because of his passionate commitment to justice for all.
Laws prescribe standards of behaviour, from domestic levels to international affairs. But will well-meant and well-worded laws change hearts? Surely the best laws are those that are indelibly inscribed in hearts and demonstrated through lives well-lived with understanding and practical love for others.

Jesus Christ’s accomplishment through the cross declares that self-giving and loving actions can help change attitudes and outcomes and can break down the walls of suspicion and mistrust that divide.  And yet, even He met with fierce opposition that led to His crucifixion and death. But was it not really His Divine love that held Him to the cross?

May the love of God our Father, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, transform hearts today.

Peter A. Black lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond. ~~+~~



Rose McCormick Brandon said...

The world is full of great people. So good to hear about one I knew nothing about. Thanks Peter. Rose

Carol Ford said...

Hi, Peter.I agree with your take on laws. There are never enough laws to handle the complexities of human relationships. Only a changed heart with the capacity to love, respect and forgive others can triumph; and this type of love comes from Jesus example. Thank you for this thought.

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Rose and Carol.
I consider it right and good to affirm those who give of themselves passionately to noble causes and to the well-being of people and the betterment of society, and to applaud them for their work. However, real change surely must take place at a deeper, radical level than what the brain knows or may learn. The mind, disposition and desires require transformation, as well. That at least borders on the spiritual, I'd say.
And yes, as you say, "Only a changed heart . . . Jesus' example" (and the Holy Spirit's enabling, too). ~~+~~

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