He went through the schooling he needed; trained to survive on the streets and keep the peace, took an oath to uphold the law, then slid behind the wheel of a patrol car. I'm sure the adrenaline rush was extreme. He was official, but the dream of saving the world quickly lost its gleam, and not because of his lack of heart, but because of the world's.
Over the past week, I have heard nothing but hatred towards cops - whining and complaining about these poor citizens being victimized by these brutal police officers. Let me just ask you to step into the shoes of these men and women who lay their lives down on the line every day to protect you, and see the other side of the coin for a moment.
Stop and think what it's like to work an 80+ hour week every week, getting little sleep, meals on the run (if any at all), fleeting moments with family, missing holidays, birthdays, graduations, family picnics and other special moments with the ones they love, only to deal with thugs and drugs, drunks and carnage, never seeing the positive...never enjoying the happy side of life.
Imagine for one moment how it feels to be spit on, flipped off, cursed out, beaten, shot at, run over, belittled all for doing a job. A JOB.
Do we ever stop to consider the fact that countless numbers of law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty....WILLINGLY....leaving behind wives, husbands, daughters, sons, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, sisters, in order that they bring order and peace, protection and security back to my home and yours, our neighborhood or city? By the way, the answer is 64 so far this year....27 of those by gunfire.
Have we counted the miles they've walked in the heat, in the rain, in the snow, in the storm, through the glass, the blood, the filth, the carnage, in order to help find a lost child, comfort an accident victim, help pull a person from a burning home, protect an office worker hunkered down behind their desk, or locate an Alzheimer's patient who's wandered away from their residence?
What about when they are off duty? Do we realize that they are never really "off"? Their eyes are always scanning, minds always analyzing, bodies always ready to spring into action to help those in need, secure a scene, or take down a threat to others. Whether we've thought of it or not, this takes a toll on their minds, their bodies and their psyche. They age quicker than anyone else. Stress becomes their constant companion.
And what about their sleep? Let me assure you that it is fleeting. When others are nicely snug in their beds, these officers are working the streets....their bodies tired and emotions drained. When at home, sleep eludes them. Nightmares and demons haunt their dreams. They're restless and tense. For those working the midnight shift, resting in the daytime requires a certain game to be played. Hanging sheets or dark "black out" curtains over windows; wives and children tip-toeing around in order to keep a semblance of quiet.
Then there's the media. God love them! It seems as if their goal in life is to drain the last bit of life blood out of these officer's souls. They expose them, draw attention to them, display them in an unfair light, call them out by name and expose every last ounce of dignity they might have had, all to bring ratings up and land that winning story or notable headline. They forget that these public servants are real human beings with feelings and emotion. With families and loved ones. With goals and hobbies. These men and women are doing a job....a job they once dreamt of doing and doing well, only to be villainized as the bad guy.
Then there is us. The spouses. The wives and husbands who know the true person behind the badge. We know their fears. We've heard their concerns. We understand their frailties. We've even witnessed the tears. We, too, hurt. We are targeted by uninformed, immature, spiritually darkened individuals who cannot grasp the difference between RoboCop and reality. We are family. We are moms and dads who want what everyone else wants....a future, happiness, joy, meaningful relationships. We are not the enemy.
Finally, what all this chaos and unrest boils down to is sin. There is no such thing as a black or white issue, male or female issue, rich or poor issue, what it reveals is the condition of the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" People in general bristle at the thought of authority. Just as a little child will rebel against his or her parents who tell him or her "no," that degenerative spirit acts out in defiance against any semblance of order, rule, or power greater than our own.
In truth...the hatred we see is not with the person behind the badge, but the authority he or she represents. The person, however, becomes the target of a much bigger loathing. In the City of Ferguson's case, one extremely sad incident has spurned a whole city of anger and set off a chain of irrational behavior, and the great divide between law and chaos has increased even wider.
With that said, I have chosen to and will continue to be an encouragement for our men and women in blue. This day and age there are not too many who support them and offer hope; not too many who cheer in their corner. Fleeting are those who come to their aid and rescue, but many are those who come with noose in hand.
To those who do respect our officers and try and understand their role in this world....you are appreciated more than you know. May God bless you and may you never need their services. May you be kept in perfect peace and security and be richly blessed. "Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted..." Proverbs 11:11a
To those who lash out against and spill their venom and hatred using the media as their platform...may God somehow penetrate that hardened heart and misguided mindset. Remember these simple words, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." Proverbs 29:11
To all the politicians who love to throw their weight around and speculate or comment on situations such as this...your uninformed words do nothing but harm. "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Proverbs 10:19
To our media...find integrity and stick to it. "Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding." Proverbs 23:23
To all our officers working the streets...stand courageous! You are appreciated and recognized for the good you do accomplish, and the hurdles you overcome. May God spread His garment of protection and peace around you and fan the flames of hope within.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9