There’s an ancient idea that needs unearthing, but it’s buried under wars and breakfast dishes and the argument I had with my wife yesterday. It’s hidden beneath dusty beliefs and traditions that are now fraying at the edges. The idea is a word, but it’s so much more than a word.
The idea is shalom.
Shalom is a diamond, and if you hold it up and turn it, you’ll see its many facets glinting in the morning sun, sending bright light everywhere. It comes from the Hebrew root word shalem, which is usually translated as “peace.” Jerusalem literally means “city of peace.”
But let’s keep turning the diamond. Let’s keep watching where the light goes.
In addition to “peace,” shalom also means “wholeness, completeness, a state of being unbroken.” It’s a wedding ring, a perfect circle, even if it’s scarred and scuffed. It’s the long passage of the sun across the sky as our earth spins on its axis, giving us lush sunrises and expansive sunsets.
It’s the reconciliation that is forged after a long conflict, when there is genuine repentance and authentic forgiveness.
Shalom is the sense of well-being that comes when brokenness is made whole again.
In Hebrew, peace-making means whole-making, and not warm-fuzzy-deny-your-concerns-and-stop-being-difficult-making. Shalom is a state of being that is forged in the cooperative work between God and us. Like a diamond, shalom can sometimes look like jagged glass.
The journey of whole-making can be dangerous. It’s costly. The opposite of shalom is the Hebrew word ra’a, which means “to be evil.” It’s the equivalent to the word ratsats, which means “to crush and break into pieces.”
Evil, at its essence, is anything that conspires to crush and break into pieces that which was created to be whole. Ra’a creates distance between anything that should be connected together…
We’ve all swallowed the jagged glass of ra’a. But there’s something else inside of us, deeper than that, and if it can see the light of day, it will change the world.
You have a secret you want to tell, a whisper of shalom. A whisper of restoration…
The Bible itself is whispering something, if we have the patience to hear it. And we are—all of us—caught up in it, whether we know it or not. The stories are sometimes epic and transformative, other times punitive and tribal. And yet, the river of the Scriptures flows toward restoring everything that is broken.
Uncovering the secrets buried in the Scriptures will help you tell your own secrets.