As John preached repentance and many of certain professions came to inquire what would be required of them to perform the duties of their livelihood and still enter the kingdom of heaven, and this was his reply to the “peacekeepers” of the day:
LUKE 3:14: “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, (intimidate, shake down) neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”
Now, I really did not particularly relish the task of trying to tackle this subject. As it is in that mysterious list of topics that are really hard to deal with in a church environment and can bring about emotions in either direction to the extreme but it needed addressed because it is rising up out of our culture at an alarming rate more and more every day.
Police brutality, harassment, and intimidation in our nation is quickly becoming a boiling pot and is in danger of boiling completely over and burning us all as a nation.
I am neutral. I can see BOTH sides with completely equal clarity. This has always been a problem, always, just as John in the Bible was pointing out the same issues that we still wrestle today because there is corruption in all walks of life and in ALL professions but recently in light of news story after news story showing brutality upon brutality is becoming a breaking point for our society.
And it is not just a black problem or a white problem, it has no cultural root, it is a broken people problem. My first encounter with law enforcement was being around four years old awoken by a flashlight shining on my face, policemen were at our house looking for my oldest brother. Now fast forward just a tad, December 3, 1973 he and two more boys happened upon a vehicle that had been left unattended and someone thought hopping in it and taking it for a ride would be the thing to do.
The Police chase that followed would bring a bloody end to an eighteen year old life. The real issue my family had problems understanding is how could he jump behind a wheel and drive speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour in a straight shift, when he did not know how to drive one, or how his head injuries were so traumatic that his scalp ended up on a guard rail.
Guess he was a fast learner and uninjured passengers must have just got lucky. By the time he had been painted as a speeding maniac that endangered the lives of all travelers, the grieving family really didn’t ask the questions until years later.
But THEY said he was driving so….. we could go on with a list of 1970’s “justice” in the South but I think you can suffice it to say that my family never hung out a welcome sign for them. and they were only to be viewed with fear, and mistrust.
BUT I did say I was neutral didn’t I? Okay, when I was eighteen while babysitting my nieces we were broken in on by their father who was pretty determined to take them and after having the phone taken, being pinned to a counter and threatened and “cussed” till hades wouldn’t have me, I can honestly tell you my opinion changed and the only hope that I and those children had was the knowledge that THEY were on their way and THEY would save us and by the point that I had been let go and was sitting on the couch near the window he had come through, I could see four policemen slowly moving toward the door and I can with everything in me tell you that I have never been so relieved to see anyone in all my life.
And I realized whatever THEY are, not all of them are bad. As with what my family experienced, so many others have had these awful encounters and they have questions without answers and justice seems only a dream for some but if we continue the culture of hatred and indifference toward law enforcement we will only breed more hatred and violence. I still have friends that are in law enforcement and there are some that are great people, who truly have a heart to help, serve, and protect others and they are who we as the church need to focus on.
Bad apples are ruining the entire bushel. Environment can be a powerful, powerful force and you may have a person who started out with the best of intentions and enough time and enough pressure can turn that person into whom they never intended to be.
As a profession, law enforcement has some extremely disturbing statistics, suicide rates of around seventeen percent usually before ten years service and the highest rates between forty to forty-four years of age with the highest rate being in officers with over twenty years service, high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse and with domestic violence rates double that of the national average.
For the record those are actually older statistics, so now to ask how does this happen? Well, think of this, if you went to your job every day knowing that you may not make it home, that every shift may be your last. If the average person viewed you with hatred and suspicion often being fought, cursed, and spit on and weave into that seeing victims of violence and car accidents leaving bodies bloody, mangled and often dismembered, working suicides complete with brains splattered against walls, delivering news to families that loved ones have been killed. Often working double shifts with very little rest and often with an extra job to just to make ends meet. Now internalize all those things you have just seen because you are required to be “strong” and conceal your emotions. Do this day after day, you would soon find that there is nothing normal about it. No human can handle that kind of stress without God and no human can handle that type of job stress and not be affected in some way.
“Be ye not overcome by evil BUT overcome evil with good” that verse tells us that all humans at one point or another can be overcame by the evils around them. I will NEVER by any means whatsoever say that those who are just evil do not exist. I think I have shown proof that I do understand families who are angry and protest and want justice, I do understand because whether my brother had issues or not, eighteen is too young for a life to end because of a stupid joy ride. But I also understand the risk we take as a society, if we do not remember that those in this profession are not merely “they” or “them” but are actually individuals just as we as Christians are individuals and that they do hurt and that they are souls that can break and help the cause of good to overcome the evil and that those who are of honor will have courage to stand against those who do not.
The truth is there will be no peace on this earth until the return of Jesus Christ and without men and women who are willing to stand between those who wish to harm and those who would be harmed we would be truly in anarchy. And as time draws closer, the world gets crazier we will need good ones more than ever.
I know people pray for their safety but we also need to pray that God will watch over those who do walk in integrity and keep them in integrity and that they will always treat others with the same respect that they desire and pray He will send them help with those burdens and that they will not be overcame by the evil they see and face. That they will look at others also as human and not become jaded and view everyone as rampant criminals. And that the mere notion of keeping peace requires excessive violence will no longer be held and for the termination of the ideology that the ends can justify the means and as concerning those who are brutal and miscarry justice, well you know the prayer, the same one you pray over it all “Deliver us from evil.”
Jesus Christ is the one true law giver, and judge. He will render to all as they have sown and Vengeance is His.
I wrote this on behalf of victims,and their families, and true justice. His story, like the stories of so many others deserved to be told and in his case justice was NOT served, it was miscarried. May he rest in peace.
Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NB 2016
Post note: I did lose one FB friend with this… which is not too bad, but that does prove a point that if people are so unwilling to believe that law enforcement or ANY other professional group are above reproach, that explains the problem with this issue. There are bad people in ALL walks of life a “one bad apple can ruin the whole bushel” and if we can’t even discuss an issue, we will never have healing and peace in our society.