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The Badge

Briefing: Circumcision was to the Jews what the badge is to a peace officer. It was an outward symbol of an inward commitment. The Jews commitment was to God and law enforcements’ commitment is to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 2:17-29.

On the Street: Now you (insert your name), if you call yourself a (police officer, deputy, constable, agent). This is a challenge that has been issued. Are you courageous enough to answer the challenge? Will you answer the call?

Paul issues this challenge to the Jews saying, you brag about your relationship with God, you say you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants.

If Paul were issuing this challenge to law enforcement officers in the United States, I think it would be something like this: “You say you’re a law enforcement officer and you know the law because it is your job. You brag about our system of justice, saying it is the best in the world. You say you are the thin blue line and the very reason that democracy works. You say that you keep chaos at bay.”

Then Paul hits us with the hard question, “you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, you then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?”

Because of the body mounted cameras we are starting to see parts of videos that make peace officers look bad. They show officers doing seemingly illegal things, bad shootings, assaulting suspects and performing all kinds of terrible behavior. For most of these we don’t get to see all of the video until after the damage is done, and after the public is outraged over the actions of the officers involved. By then, the protests have already begun. We only see the actions and not the justification that leads up to it. There are also videos out there of officers doing horrific unjustified acts that embarrass us and make us all look bad.

There are bad apples in every profession. When you have almost one million law enforcement officers in the United States, you are bound to get bad officers. But what about you and me? We are the people Paul is addressing. Are you committed to being as righteous as humanly possible? Are you trying daily not to tarnish the badge you and the other 999,999 of us wear?

Listen to what Paul writes in verse 25, “Circumcision (your badge) has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised (you are no better than a criminal).” Then he says something I wish was taught in every in-service, every year, to every law enforcement officer. It is this, “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.” To put the blue spin on it, “A man/woman is not a peace officer if he/she is only one outwardly, nor is wearing the badge merely outward and physical”. To wear the badge is an outward symbol of an inward commitment.

Paul finishes by saying if your commitment to God is not real then your circumcision is worthless. We have to be spirit lead to be of any value to this world or this profession. How is your commitment to God?

Investigational Resources: There is a new wave of training called Blue Courage. It is an effort to get peace officers back to the realization that law enforcement is a noble profession. It attempts to change the mindset from being a warrior against the ills of society to being a guardian of justice and democracy. I highly suggest trying to get this training for you and your department.

Officer Safety Principle: How do we get this inward commitment, this circumcision of our heart? By praying that God would change us to have a heart that honors Him.

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!