Briefing: Have there been times in your career where you were afraid of the people you swore to protect?
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 56.
On the Street: There was a season of hate and hostility against law enforcement that exploded in September 2014. It started with an incident in Ferguson, Missouri. There were riots, civil unrest, and an overt movement to kill police officers. The hate grew into a fevered pitch with several ambushes of law enforcement officers all across the country. The hate and savagery peaked on July 7, 2016. A Black Lives Matter group was holding a march in downtown Dallas. Several Dallas area law enforcement agencies were helping to provide security for the march. The officers were there to keep the peace. They were not there to support or take sides. Their goal was to keep the protesters, the onlookers, and the community safe.
At the conclusion of the event, an evil, racist, gunman killed five police officers and wounded nine others. The Dallas Police Chief at the time of the shooting was David Brown. “Chief Brown said that Johnson, who was black, was upset about recent police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement, and stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” (quote from NBC News) These officers paid the ultimate price for keeping the peace.
Officers killed in the line of duty were DPD Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, DPD Officer Michael Krol, DPD Sgt. Michael Smith, DART Officer Brent Thompson, and DPD Officer Patricio Zamarripa.
I attended the funerals of Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith. It is hard to describe the fear and uncertainty that I felt during those weeks and months. This psalm comes closest to how my prayers sounded. “Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life.” Psalm 56:1-6.
It was in the months following that the silent majority of Americans began to speak up and verbalize their appreciation and support of law enforcement. I remember the encouraging words, yard signs, and billboards that started conveying the message of support. Back The Blue and Thin Blue Line stickers started appearing on cars and trucks everywhere. It was amazing.
2017 saw NFL players kneeling in protest of “police brutality” even though there was nothing to hang their hat on other than old instances of mostly justified uses of force that had long been resolved.
Law Enforcement is a noble profession. It is good triumphing over evil, righteousness holding back the wicked, protecting those who are being victimized by law breaking, disrespecting haters of God’s justice. God created justice and has called men and women to enforce what is right and good. In John 15:18-19 Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” If you stand up for good, then evil will hate you for it and do everything in its power to destroy you.
David, in the midst of this kind of persecution, makes this statement in verse 22, “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
Investigational Resources: Isaiah 53:11-12, John 1:4-5.
Officer Safety Principle: “But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.” Psalm 56:23.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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