Kingdom Law Enforcement
A few days ago Jacai Colson, a D.C. area policeman, lost his life in an unprovoked attack outside of a district police station. He joins twenty-two other law enforcers that have lost their lives in 2016 in the line of duty.
Our hearts break any time someone in law enforcement pays the ultimate sacrifice to protect us. But we are especially troubled when their lives are taken in a premeditated act. I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:12 when He said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Jesus was likely referring to a time of great turmoil that would impact the early church, but in the same passage He talks about the end of time and the punishment of the wicked. However we interpret this prediction of lawless behavior, we seem to instinctively know it is a major harbinger of the end, either of all things or our society as we know it.
Please understand, I am not a “doom and gloom” person who believes bad signs must inevitably lead to our mutual destruction. Signs can also warn us and lead us to make necessary changes that result in a better community, nation and world. Practically speaking, a turn-around becomes less likely as time goes by and the world is filled with more people who do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). However, I think there is always an opportunity for renewal as sinners restore their passion for God and seek the full potential of every good gift He Has given.
In the meantime, how do Christians help stem the tide of lawlessness? Here are some possibilities:
1. If we know the Lord, we should respect those who uphold the law and teach our children to do the same. Parents or community leaders who encourage the willful disrespect of those who are charged with upholding the law are setting others, and themselves, up for failure. This doesn’t mean those in authority over us will always be perfect. Some might even abandon their oath and use their positions for evil. But these are exceptions, and we should always see them as such, while striving to maintain integrity in all aspects of our communities.
2. We should remember our respect for those who have authority over us is a commandment from scripture (1 Peter 2:13-17). We can’t use the fact that some in law enforcement are imperfect, or unjust as an excuse to break the law. I believe there is a place for civil disobedience, but if we should ever choose this pathway to change we must be willing to put ourselves at risk, not those who are sworn to uphold the law.
3. We can complement law enforcement efforts by being the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). By the time the police or sheriff’s departments show up at a crime scene, many opportunities for intervention in people’s lives have already passed. When we reach out to others going through a personal struggle, the love of Christ can heal their hearts before they lash out in anger. Christians are always working in an unofficial capacity as peacemakers. We show people how to have peace with God and others.
These are just a few ways we can help. And, of course, it never hurts to pick up the tab for the officer or deputy checking out at your favorite convenient store.
Pray for those who enforce the law. They are risking their lives for our welfare. And pray for their families. They struggle when they hear about senseless events such as the one in D.C.
Don’t forget to obey the law. As the Lord’s people, we don’t want to add to the stress of those who are trying to protect us. So, if you are reading this in your car, put the smart phone on the seat.
It can wait.