This date, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, was chosen as the international day of non-violence by the United Nations on June 15, 2007. Active nonviolence has the ability to change the world. Studies have shown that armed, violent efforts to change unjust systems of oppression have rarely resulted in success. It is an illusion to believe that violence can bring peace. Violence only begets more violence. Gandhi believed that “just means lead to just ends.” There are three elements to Gandhi’s concept of non-violence as a force for social change:
- Resistance such as sit-ins and blockades
- Nonviolent action such as protests, marches and vigils
As Gandhi said: “There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.” “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of [hu]mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
God, we pray for peace and nonviolence in our hearts and in the world. We commit ourselves to non-violence in thought, word and deed. Help us day to day as we struggle to live nonviolent lives of compassion and peace. Give us courage to stand up and speak out when faced with injustice. Help us to always be a presence of love in the world.