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Justified Anger?

Briefing: We just finished a lesson on fairness. Now we have one of our own trying to jump ahead of us in rank (promotion). Not only does this make us defensive, but the way in which they go about it gives us a perceived justification for our reaction (anger).

Dispatch (Assignment): What is the promotional process for your department? Do you think it is fair? Is it a good ole boy system? Read Matthew 20:20-28.

On the Street: Beyond not fair, this is one of our own not playing fair, using unfair tactics. As an officer, have you ever been surprised by the uncharacteristic actions of a co-worker? One night, while on patrol, I got in the middle of a gang fight and wound up in the hospital. Some of my fellow officers took my squad car back to the station and put most of my equipment in my locker. When I returned to the job I was short a new pair of binoculars and my personal clip board. I could not believe that another police officer would “take” my stuff. We like to hold our co-workers, especially those in law enforcement, to a higher standard. The truth of the matter is that we are only human, no better or worse than anyone else.

I tend to put the disciples on a higher level. I would not expect this kind of underhandedness from them. One of these guys was John, the author of the gospel of John, 1-3 John and Revelation. He and James were already part of Jesus’ inner circle. The only person closer to Jesus was Peter. His brother James was the first disciple to be martyred (Acts 12:2).

Highlights from this Read: In verse 21 when Jesus asked James and John’s mother, “what do you wish?”, understand that He already knew what her question was but, He allowed her to ask it anyway. Jesus had already explained to the disciples that He was not going to set up an earthly kingdom. His kingdom would be in heaven and He told them in 19:28 that they would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. We don’t expect this kind of behavior from men who played such a vital role in the beginnings of Christendom. Even though we like to get upset at John, James, and their mother, I am awe struck by the remarkable faith they show, believing Jesus was who He claimed to be.

In verse 22, the cup Jesus was referring to was probably the cup of wrath on the cross, Matthew 26:39 and 27:48. In verse 24 we see pride and ego. These two ugly beasts that can be traced back to the root of most of our problems. This is usually the root cause of why I get myself into trouble. In verse 27, Jesus turns our understanding upside down.

Jesus gives us the perfect example of servant leadership in verse 28. We can also read about this in John 13, where He washes His disciple’s feet.

Investigational Resources: The cup of wrath (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). Study of Jesus giving His life up for our sins: John 10:11 and 17, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 59:20, and Matthew 5:21. Also see Mark 10:35-45.

Officer Safety Principle: We should be careful of our reactions to betrayal. Sometimes our reaction is worse than the betrayal.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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