A Covenant Of Christian Nonviolence
Recognizing the potential for violence in our own hearts, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, we vow to seek peace and pursue it as Jesus taught, within ourselves and in the world around us, through our daily words and actions.
I. We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God.
II. We renounce violence of the heart, tongue and fist, neither willing nor working harm to any.
III. We pledge to act in allegiance to God alone, and to resist injustice with goodness.
IV. We freely offer up our appetites, wealth, and pride to relieve the suffering of the world, for the sake of our neighbors and God’s joy.
We vow to be formed according to the love and example of Jesus in all our life, through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Trusting in God’s sustaining love, we pray that the same God who gave us the grace and desire to offer these vows will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill them.
The Vows: A Covenant Guide
I. Vows of Affirmation
“We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”
- I will daily offer my life to God with reverence and a living faith; I will daily pray to be used as a servant by God for the good of my neighbors near and far.
- I will seek the image of God in each and every person; I will treat them as fully worthy of the good I desire for myself.
- I will live, speak and act with truth, compassion, kindness, gentleness, mercy, patience, generosity, and expectant hope that others will respond in kind.
- I will live, speak and act with courtesy, respect, and honesty toward friend and enemy, neighbor and stranger.
- I will daily seek to do good for someone without reward or recognition.
- I will daily read the Scriptures and meditate on the witness of Jesus Christ.
II. Vows of Rejection
“We renounce violence of the heart, tongue and fist, neither willing nor working harm to any”
- I will reject violence of the heart: I will not harbor anger, resentment, envy, prejudice, or hatred.
- I will reject violence of the tongue: I will not speak or write any curse, insult, abuse, slander, deception, falsehood, or gossip.
- I will reject violence of the fist: I will not retaliate toward anger or assault, provocation or violence, in word or action; I will not seek or inflict any injury, harm or death toward any person.
III. Vows of Nonviolent Witness
“We pledge to act in allegiance to God alone, and to resist injustice with goodness”
- I will speak up in defense and protection of anyone, even enemies, who are attacked with violence of word or action, even at the risk of my own life.
- I will resist evil and injustice by individuals, governments or other institutions, with the goodness exemplified by Jesus Christ and his apostles; I will not hold back from fear of punishment or loss.
- I will obey civil authorities, unless they command actions which are unjust or protect injustice, or if they violate common human dignity.
- I will make no oath of allegiance to any government of this world, nor will I salute any flag; I will honor and respect legitimate authority, but I will love and worship God alone, sovereign and judge of all nations.
- I will seek to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the world around me.
IV. Vows of Voluntary Sacrifice
“We freely offer up our appetites, wealth, and pride to relieve the suffering of the world, for the sake of our neighbors and God’s joy.”
- I will accept with grace any suffering for myself resulting from my affirmations, rejections and witness; I will do all in my power to reduce the suffering in the world, including the suffering of victims and my adversaries in confrontation.
- In confrontation and conflict, I will seek justice and reconciliation rather than victory, and I will make any necessary sacrifice of my own person, pride or property to achieve reconciliation and justice.
- I will discipline my sexual appetite by practicing chastity and purity in my relationships and recreation; I will treat sexual intimacy as a public, lifelong and exclusive covenant for marriage; I will respect the bodily image and sexual dignity of each person as a child of God, and refrain from lust and pornographic media.
- I will discipline my appetite for food through conscientious diet and periodic fasting, especially from meat and foods that impose exceptional burdens on God’s creation or my neighbors, and by refraining from intoxicants.
- I will discipline my appetite for possessions through limiting acquisition of things to my true needs; through treating all my possessions and wealth as a trust from God for extending God’s blessings to the suffering in the world; through sharing generously with my neighbors; and through consuming conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live.
- I will seek out and yield to the counsel and direction of my sisters and brothers for growing into the Spirit and likeness of Jesus Christ; I will regularly examine my life under these vows, and seek the aid and instruction of my brothers and sisters for growing in faithfulness.
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