Journey to Love, Day 3: Love Is Not Peace

Journey to Love, Day 3: Love Is Not Peace

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Sometimes love is loud.

My daughters don’t always tell me about little injustices at school because, as my daughter Allie says, “I know you will go burn things down.” Not literally, of course. But if someone mistreats my kids, I don’t think it’s loving to be polite to them about it.

We get confused sometimes and think that love means being nice. Sure. Sometimes. Then there are other times that people tell you, “That’s not loving,” but what they mean is “Don’t rock the boat.”

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Is Peace Always Loving?

I’ve found it helpful to differentiate between “peace” as we think of it and the Jewish idea of “shalom.” Some people, when they say peace, mean an absence of conflict. There are a lot of ways peace (in that sense) can be achieved: the threat of violence, for instance. Imagine a plantation in the time of chattel slavery. It might have been “peaceful,” but it wasn’t loving or just or right.

But shalom is the idea that “all is right with the world.” Everything is in its proper place. Everyone is cared for. Everyone has what they need. There is justice, and all are treated with kindness. When someone says “shalom” to you, that’s what they’re saying: “May God put everything in its proper place.” It’s a very specific kind of peace.

Does Peace Equal a Lack of Conflict?

Sometimes we mistake the absence of conflict for peace. We say, “Oh, no one’s fighting—we must be in a good place.” But that might be a dishonest place. Or an unjust place. Or an unsafe place. Or a frightened place. In other words, that might be a place that has neither conflict nor love.

Let me give you an easy example. When I was a high school teacher, one of my students came to class wearing sunglasses. I asked her to take them off and saw that she had a black eye. A family member had hit her in the face. She begged me not to make a big deal about it.

Now, to avoid conflict here would have been easy. I just wouldn’t tell anyone, and I could “preserve the status quo.” But in this case, the status quo was causing harm to someone. Was it loving for me to keep quiet?


So I called child protective services, who sent someone that same day. Then there was counseling and a lot of tears and several interviews. I don’t want to go into all the details, as it’s not my story to tell, but I can say this: I wouldn’t call it a happy ending. Speaking up didn’t magically make it all better.

But I have no question that it was the loving thing to do in that moment.

Love Can’t Keep Silent

We live in a world where the status quo—for individuals, communities, ethnicities, social classes, genders, orientations, religions, nationalities—is often unjust. There are people out there who will tell you to leave it be, to stay quiet, who will say, “Don’t rock the boat.”

That’s not love. Sometimes love challenges. Sometimes love speaks up when there’s pressure to be silent. Sometimes love is loud.


Are you experiencing an absence of conflict in a relationship and calling it peace? What might it look like if love stepped into that relationship?


Pick an activist you respect, whether from current events or from history, and do a little research on their story. What got them started? Why were they so passionate about the change they were working to make? Do you think love had something to do with it?

Tomorrow, we’ll learn about the power of hope and how it relates to love. I am so glad we are on this journey together!

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