Briefing: Fear is not a subject that comes up often in our profession. You don’t hear officers in the coffee shop talking about their fears.
Dispatch (Assignment): Researchers say that humans are born with only two kinds of fear, fear of falling and fear of loud noises. What are some of the things you are afraid of?
On the Street: As law enforcement officers, fear has a lot to do with who we are and why we do what we do. We like to think of ourselves as being courageous. Courage by its very definition is being afraid but working through that fear. Without fear there is no courage.
In my rookie year with Dallas PD I had my first epic fear challenge. It was a moment when time stood still. It is a moment when you have to make a decision to be courageous or be a coward. I had been in a car chase with two carjackers. They bailed out and ran into a wooded area. I chased them without giving thought to not having any backup. When I realized this, it was too late. I was in a dark wooded area alone with two armed suspects. After a couple of minutes I realized I was so deep in the woods that I could not tell my backup how to find me. I was afraid. I took a deep breath and stood still. After a few seconds I heard one of the suspects nearby. I wanted to run back to my car and get help. I knew I was standing at the brink of courage and cowardice. I prayed for courage and found strength to move forward. I found one of the suspects and got him handcuffed. Seconds later the police helicopter flew overhead and directed other officers to my location.
Proverbs 19:23 (NIV), “The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
I have a good friend who told me, “never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want trouble. I want to rest content and trust the one who can lead me to life.
Proverbs 19:29 (NIV), “Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.”
Proverbs 19:25 (NIV), “Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.”
We have seen several verses from Proverbs that tell us to listen to correction and take it to heart. I would much rather take some criticism and words of correction than to be beaten because I am listed among the mockers. Do you fear the flogging?
Proverbs 14:2 (NIV), “He whose walk is upright fears the Lord, but he whose ways are devious despise Him.”
This is a theme carried through Proverbs. Even the contrast between the woman of wisdom and the woman of folly are an example of those who fear the Lord and those who don’t.
Proverbs 14:6 (NIV), “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.”
A good example of the mocker not being able to find wisdom is found in Acts 8:18-25. The seeking of wisdom for personal gain and not out of a fear of the Lord will not get you anywhere.
Proverbs 23:17 (NIV), “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”
Jesus was always telling those around Him not to fear. There is nothing in this world that should make us afraid. If the only two fears we are born with are the fear of falling and fear of loud noises then all other fears are learned. We are not born with a host of phobias. The only learned fear we should have is the fear of the Lord. All other fear is worldly.
Investigational Resources: Joshua 1:9, Philippians 2:12, 1 John 4:18, Revelation 14:7
Officer Safety Principle: Fear the Lord or fear the consequences.
from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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