Let us pray for peace

Starting on Friday, December 1, three days of national prayer were observed in Guyana in the face of Venezuela’s aggression and its referendum on Sunday to purportedly annex Essequibo, despite the International Court of Justice ordering it not to take any action that would alter Guyana’s control over our territory.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro led the way in casting votes at the referendum on Sunday. The National Electoral Council of Venezuela has reported that over 20 million were expected to vote at 28,000 polling stations across Venezuela. The process commenced at 6:00h and ended at 18:00h, with the results slated to be released early this morning.
While millions cast their ballots in the referendum, the event was overshadowed by the disapproval of the regional and international community.
It would be easy to dislike Venezuela, who believes erroneously we are the enemy. After all, it is claiming two-thirds of our country – based on the surmising of one of its lawyers at the 1899 border arbitration, who had not the intestinal fortitude to publicise his conjecture when he or the other parties involved were alive, and not a shred of evidence have been found since to support this calumny, either in the British archives or the Venezuelan archives – and specially-appointed experts of both nations have looked.
But we are called to overlook offences and forgive those who trespass against us (quite literally in this case).
Venezuela’s sabre-rattling on our western border has driven inter-country military tensions in our corner of South America to levels unprecedented this century.
While much wider further afield, in a world beset by conflict, the need for prayers for peace and sanity to prevail is evident, with the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars dragging us ever closer to the brink of war on a scale not seen since World War II.
We are instructed in Romans (12:14, 17,21): ”Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:43-48 instructs. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
So, let us pray for peace, for understanding, for wisdom to enter our hearts and guide our actions, Guyanese and Venezuelans alike, and all our fellow Terrans.
Outrage over Venezuela’s unmitigated gall must be tempered by our duty to continue to help its citizens who have migrated here and our love for our South American brethren. Yes, we have been wronged in many ways by our larger, more powerful neighbour, but we must not give in to hate and contempt. Let love prevail (with the firm understanding Essequibo is ours).