When I was a younger man, there was an entire culture of people that used a five-letter word quite a bit, either as a pleasant greeting or a parting wish. They also wrote in placards and signs and tee-shirts and bumper stickers to put forth their political views.
That word was "peace," or, in the Hebrew, "shalom."
Today, once again, people are calling for peace. Most of these calls have to do with wars and terrorism and so forth. But just what is it we are really asking for?
Many people know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood around the world to mean "peace." But peace as we have come to use the term is only one small part of the true meaning of the word. Shalom is used to both greet people and to bid them farewell, and it means much more than simply "peace, hello or goodbye"
You see, Hebrew words go far beyond their spoken pronunciation, conveying feeling, intent and emotion. Shalom is more than just simply peace as we might define it; the word carries with it a complete package of blessings.
According to Strong's Concordance, shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfect-ness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord.
So ... when we greet someone with the word shalom, or peace, we are really offering a blessing of sorts. It's a blessing of having a complete life that includes all of those components listed above.
When we cry out for peace on a global level, are we merely asking that people get along; that wars cease; that violence may come to an end; that nations will no longer rise against nations? Yes, that may be a large piece of what we are asking for. But "peace" infers so much more. We should be intentionally calling for an end to man's hostility towards another and a healing of discord, but we should also be speaking completeness, wholeness, health, well-being, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, rest, and harmony into the lives of others.
In other words, the word shalom is a mighty blessing on so many levels! Whenever we employ the word "shalom" -- or "peace" - we are speaking into someone's life all the wonderful things that shalom means!
It's nice to know we can have a positive impact on those around us by just choosing to say the right words.