In my young twenties, I had once confided in my mother that I was tired of always being the one to do the first step toward reconciliation, typically when I was in dispute with one of my siblings.
Her response was—keep on doing it. Her wise answer shocked me, but she was right, and it remained with me since I learned to grow spiritually with this sage advice.
Years after, I went through to the biggest test of my life. I encountered my new church, where later on, I was separated from the priest with whom I was in love.
His superiors did everything in their power to keep us separate and make my life miserable in all kinds of ways. One day, I had stepped over my pride to ask to make peace—it had never been granted to me. I could never feel fully complete in oneness with my fellow Christians because of it.
I would cry and feel miserable. My friends and family would tell me that God will grant me justice one day. I could relate to that, but when I would think about the unconditional love of God, that's not what I felt like I wanted.
Of course, that if you want justice God will give it to you because He is fair, but He is also Love, and He gave us a choice between the two. Sure if you have justice, you will go to bed at night and feel satisfied. But, are you going to feel at peace? If you are honest, your answer will be—no. Why? Because when you think about the person who wronged you, you will not be able to feel love nor oneness towards that person. Your ego is satisfied, but your heart is empty of love. It's like when a child is happy for his brother to be punished—it's totally mean-spirited.
When you step over your ego and allow yourself to rise toward the enlightenment of unconditional love, you don't want justice—you want peace. Because you want to go to bed at night with your heart fully content; you want to feel oneness with that person, and to be able to feel love instead of resentment. Your ego will have no choice but to quiet down. It's not important to have justice anymore when you can enjoy peace.
You can't feel peace if you choose justice. If you meet that person on the street, how are you going to look at that individual? What will be your feeling? Surely it will not be love and compassion because your ego is boosted—you got what you wanted. But did you indeed? If you had chosen peace instead, you would meet that person on the street, stopped and had a chat or decided to go for a coffee. You would have made yourself another friend and discover all the qualities that were hiding from your judgment during the time you were in conflict. You would then realize how much you missed out if you were still in dispute.
Justice doesn't bring people together in the oneness and unconditional love as we are supposed to be as humankind—peace does. It's the same scenario on a bigger scale when you think about all those wars worldwide. Justice is selfish, and peace is selfless.
But what if you did the first steps to make peace and it has been denied to you? Well, you can go back home and say that at least you tired. Sad as it may be, you still have to live with the longing for reconciliation, but at least your heart won't be empty of love for that person, and you were able to raise yourself above your ego. It's better than being filled with resentment. It's valid to find this hard to swallow, but the way to healing is not known to be easy.
This reflection reminds me of what Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9. It all makes sense – we all children of God and peace must prevail over justice to achieve oneness.