Called “the greatest statesman of our century” by American President John F. Kennedy, Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist, diplomat, and author. Serving as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, his death occured as he was on his way to negotiate a cease-fire between Katangese troops in Moise Tshombe and “non-combatant” UN forces. Awarded a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously, Hammarskjöld envisioned his professional duties as a spiritual responsibility.
Hammarskjöld only wrote one book in his life, a collection of diary reflections, entitled Vägmärken (Markings). In an excerpt from this work Hammarskjöld emphasized the importance of forgiveness as it relates to one’s ability to experience peace with God:
“In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us – we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others” (Hammarskjold, 2005, p. 359).
Hammarskjold, D. (2005). To say yes. In R. J. Foster & J. B. Smith (Eds.), Devotional classics: Selected readings for individuals and groups (pp. 357-362). New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco.