The Apostle Paul who seemed to regularly have run-ins with the law enforcement of his day – arrested and jailed and eventually executed, wrote the following:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:1-4
Officers of the law have a God-given, government-commissioned, public-insisted duty to do. I am very close to several officers, and my respect for their work and avocation is very high for them and the other 750,000 plus that our nation employees. The number of those who this past year who lost their lives due to an officer’s action was 1194 – unavoidable and avoidable. You know in every profession, even the clergy, there are those who should have never been there, made mistakes, broke the law, but those deaths involved less than two-tenths of one percent of those commissioned officers. Now every death, whether an officer was protecting others, or an officer failed in his/her calling, is a tragedy and God has taught me that all of life is sacred from the womb to the final heartbeat of a great-grandfather. However, as a people, we demand to be safe, and there are times that requires an officer to act.
When we break the laws of the land, which by the way have their foundation in the laws of God, we ought to be fearful of God’s servant, the law officer. But there are times when we are hurting, stranded, perplexed, and without the immediate help, our circumstances require. And it’s at those times, we often call for an officer’s assistance. Last night I had the privilege of riding along with an officer for several hours. As he was returning me to the department parking lot to get my car, we were ‘flagged down’ to assist someone who was in the woods and hurt. This officer didn’t hesitate, stopped, took the steps necessary to go to the injured person, assist them to safety, call for medical help, contact family and wait until the family’s life was back to ‘normal.’
Two observations: One, there was a large group of neighbors standing around at the point we were flagged down, but they weren’t asked, and they didn’t offer any help. They just stood there gawking and talking. Two, when all the help this family needed was leaving, they thanked the EMTs and the ‘walker’ who stopped by to comfort the injured. But, the officer who stopped, cared, called and led the assistance… not one word of thanks to him. That’s a tragedy as well.
While you’re enjoying your holiday weekend, there will be thousands of officers working the streets and neighborhoods to keep you safe and if needed, will not hesitate to stop and care for you and your family. Why don’t you take a moment to thank him or her for their service.
Think about it.