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Taking Sides

Briefing: We are living in a time when there is truly a line in the sand. People either like and respect law enforcement or they hate us all together.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 12:14-21.

On the Street: I have said it before and hopefully you have heard it often; law enforcement is a noble profession. This job is a calling full of people who desire to help others. No matter how calloused and cynical you may be now, at some point your desire was to enforce good and suppress evil.

Somewhere along the way a few bad apples were caught being evil instead of suppressing evil. I would never try to convince anyone that there are not problems in law enforcement. If you have been in law enforcement long enough, you too have probably had moments when you acted unprofessional. You may have lashed out at someone, talked someone into a fight, been rude, given a ticket or made an arrest out of anger. We are not perfect people and we are going to make mistakes.

The Christian law enforcement officer must distinguish between handling our business professionally versus taking things personally. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge: I will repay,” says the Lord.” This is not saying we should be vengeful people and rejoice that God is going to get people for hurting us. The next verse tells us the opposite is true. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” This is the kind of love that makes people stop and think.

We have to trust that God has this whole thing figured out. Part of His plan is that we, His children, must act different than the rest of the world. In earlier devotions it has been characterized as being set apart. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” If God is love, and we are His children, we are love too. The question is, do we act like it? Matthew 5:43-44 says, “You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Other professions, like banking and the medical field, don’t really have an enemy in the flesh. There is not another human being on the other side of a gun or knife trying to kill them. We have that kind of enemy but contrary to how we were taught, we should not hate or seek revenge. The God of love is our Father.

Investigational Resources: Matthew 25:31-46.

Officer Safety Principle: When I was growing up, my dad would challenge me by saying, “Are you a man or a boy?” I would always answer, “I’m a man”, and he would say, “then act like it.” My question to you is, are you a Christian or a pagan? Then act like it.

from The Book of Romans 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!