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M. Salmon: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace was established to accomplish something that has eluded civilization since literally the beginning of time. Ever since Cain killed Abel, as related in the Bible, lasting peace has not been accomplished on this planet. Our call is not to talk about lasting global peace; it is to accomplish lasting global peace.

As we commemorate Reverend Moon’s 100th birthday, let’s hear what he had to say on the subject: “In my opinion, if we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace with nations, we must settle our peace with God!”

Put another way, a beautiful song expresses, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” So how do we, as Parliamentarians for Peace, make our peace with God, and how does peace on earth begin with me?

In one word – forgiveness!

As he hung on the cross, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, uttered these profound words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He showed us by divine example how to keep his commandment that we must forgive always. Forgiveness is possible and necessary for us mortals as well.

Consider these two examples. In 2006, in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, a man stormed into an elementary school and shot 10 little girls, killing five of them, and then killed himself. The world stood in awe, not just because of the senseless tragedy that had taken place but also because of the sincere forgiveness offered by those who had been violated. Members of the Amish community even went to the killer’s funeral. Many of the Amish families in attendance had buried their own daughters just the day before. They hugged the killer’s widow and hugged other members of the killer’s family.

Then last year, a horrible scene unfolded in Texas when an off-duty police officer walked into what she thought was her apartment and was startled by a man on the sofa. He stood and approached her, and she shot him dead. She was arrested. Why? Well, it wasn’t her apartment, and he wasn’t an intruder. She was on the wrong floor of the apartment building. In court, the judge gave the family of the victim a chance to deliver a victim impact statement. What happens next is quite remarkable! Brandt, the younger brother of the murdered victim, faces the woman and says, “I forgive you. My brother would forgive you and would want the best for you. … He would hope that you would invite Jesus into your life.” Then he hugged her.

What would you have said if she had killed your brother? Could you have forgiven someone who killed your little girl? I wept when I heard each of these stories. Through these acts of forgiveness, the forgiver’s life is changed forever. To the forgiven, their life is also changed forever, and these examples have the power to change the world if we let them.

Victor Hugo, the well known French novelist who wrote Les Misérables, said it this way, “More powerful than the march of armies is an idea whose time has come.” The idea whose time has come is that peace can come only by way of forgiveness. Let us learn it! Let us live it! Let us lead with it!



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