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Cops and Heroes

Briefing: Think back to your rookie years. Did you ever have an officer that you looked up to? Why did you admire him/her? What qualities did they possess that you wanted?

Dispatch (Assignment): As we progress in our life, our heroes or people we admire, change. Take a few minutes to write down the heroes in your life, from childhood to present time.

On the Street: Proverbs 17:27 (NIV) says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” I started my career in Dallas, Texas. I was assigned to the South East division, the roughest, toughest part of the city. My first Field Training Officer was a guy who had been on the job for almost 30 years. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke up, everyone listened. He had years of wisdom and experience. Every once in a while he would throw us rookies a nugget of wisdom. The words he spoke were always timely and insightful.

Richard Kirks was and still is a legend. He was a man of action. In my mind he was the John Wayne of law enforcement. For seven weeks, I rode with, and was trained by him. I saw him talk hardened criminals into handcuffs and exchange blows with others. After thirty years he still cared deeply for people. At the end of my training he told me, “Chuck, spend your shift looking for an opportunity to help someone. That’s what the job is all about.”

I have had many people who have stood out in my life. I began listing them and realized there were too many to include. Jesus is obviously at the top of the list but there is another one I want to discuss. He has been one of my heroes for the last several years. I have studied him and read his story over and over. I want to be like the centurion of great faith. I wrote about him in “The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop”. That lesson is a little different than this one.

Proverbs 17:27 talks about a man of great character. As a matter of personal opinion, I believe it is an intentional description of Jesus (as are most of the positive character descriptions in Proverbs). The centurion was also a man of great character. He is described as a leader who possessed integrity and knowledge. He was a man of great faith. I want to be like this centurion.

Do you want to be the kind of person people look to and say, “I want to be like (your name goes here)”? How do you become that kind of person?

When you think of yourself as being a hero, what comes to mind? Do you picture yourself arresting the biggest crime boss in the city? Are you saving people from a burning building and leaping tall buildings in a single bound? Do you see yourself scoring the winning touchdown or flying a jet fighter into combat and shooting down all of the bad guys? Do you ever think of being someone with knowledge who uses their words with restraint, who has understanding and is even-tempered?

It’s not always the grand acts of courage and valor that make us a hero. As Christians, people are going to look to us and judge the way we act and react to all situations. As police officers, agents, constables, deputies and other law enforcement professionals, people naturally look at us and expect us to be the higher standard. As a Christian law enforcement officer you are not only being watched by citizens but by other officers. There can be a lot of pressure to be “righteous” all of the time. It’s not easy. Jesus does not call us to what is easy but what is worthy. It’s not your responsibility to live or act in a way to attain hero status. Live a life that is worthy of being called a Christian and you are automatically in the hall of fame (the Bible calls this “The Book of Life”).

Investigational Resources: 2 Timothy 1:7, Matthew 8:5-13

Officer Safety Principle: Jesus does not call us to what is easy but to what is worthy.

from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!