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Learning and Teaching

Briefing: While in training I had several different FTOs. Each one had their own unique way of working. My first FTO was an older officer who did things by the book. The second FTO was a young, passionate officer who liked to cut corners. His philosophy was, “it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there.” That worked well on the street. I later found it didn’t work so well in court.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 51.

On the Street: In this Psalm, David is a man who recognizes he has lost his way. He wrote this after being confronted and called out by a friend. David’s crime was exposed. He had an affair with Uriah’s wife, got her pregnant, then had Uriah killed to cover up his sin. David internalizes what he had done and sees how far he has fallen.

We have all gotten caught up in trouble but instead of confessing it and asking for help we try to cover it up. This usually leads to more trouble and a bigger mess. Telling lies to cover up lies, then lying about lying, all the while digging a deeper hole that we can’t get out of. We have all been there. David is there in this Psalm and with God’s help, he will show us the proper way to recover and reconcile with God.

David knows he needs to ask for forgiveness. He understands that he has fallen out of fellowship with God by his own actions. When David turned to the lust of his heart, he turned away from God. He turned his face toward sin and his back toward righteousness.

Verses 1-6 is a conversation David is having with God. It’s not what we think of when we pray, prayer is communication between you and God. Prayer is not words you throw up to heaven hoping someone is listening. This is a sincere cry to God. David is honest and does not hide any dark corner of his life. He is totally transparent in his confession. This is the plea of a person who wants to get right with God.

Just because we were saved at some point does not mean we are done, our ticket to heaven is punched. We still slip and slide backwards and need to come back to God, confessing our sins and getting back into a right relationship with Him. When was the last time you seriously spoke to God about the sin in your life? When was the last time you asked for forgiveness for sins you committed against other people and against God Himself? If you have cut corners at work to put people in jail or make cases, you have sinned against the God of justice. Justice is doing things right, not cutting corners to pad your stats or get a quick result. Justice is not a system, it is God’s way of doing things right. Verse 4 says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.”

Luckily for us we get to see the correct way to come back from the awful position we find ourselves in. We get to learn from David’s mistake because he was humble enough to document it for us. By the way, this is also a proven method for teaching rookies how to avoid mistakes we have made.

The first step, as we saw in verse 1-6, is to confess and ask for forgiveness. The second is to know in your heart that if you are sincere, God is good to forgive. James 1:6 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

After getting right with God we must follow the example of verse 13. Once we have learned from our mistakes we should teach others what to do, and lead them back to a right relationship with the Father. When we see friends and family falling into the pit they have dug, we love them back to God. This is what Nathan, David’s friend, did with his rebuke.

David makes an incredible statement in verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” By going to God with your sin and grief you are taking the first step to restoring your relationship and moving forward in your journey to Christian maturity. Once we get the matter of an honest and sincere sacrifice down, we go back to fulfilling the callings God has on our lives. We turn our face towards Him and away from sin and darkness. Verses 17-19 are a type and shadow of Jesus’ statement, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Investigational Resources: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25.

Officer Safety Principle: We are going to make mistakes. It is how we deal with those mistakes that determine our spiritual path and shape our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!

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