Quite often I get contacted by guest bloggers who want to submit a post for our site. Most are turned away because they do not align with our mission or the interests of our audience. There are always those trusted sources, such as fellow ministers, chaplains, and law enforcement officers. Occasionally, however, I encounter a post from others that is interesting, thought-provoking, and relevant to our mission.
While I am not completely satisfied with the wording of the title, here is one such example. I think the article is not so much about “Christian Law” as it is Christians dealing with the enforcement of our government’s laws as relates to biblical standards and expectations.
Before I offer too much in the way of opinion, see what you think about the points made by the author.
As members of the law enforcement community, we are accustomed to facing difficult situations, and are constantly tested in our faith when those situations arise. We often struggle to find the place where our responsibilities and our faith converge, when to outward appearances and within our own hearts, they might seem to be at odds. And all too often, we have no trouble straddling the thin blue line by looking deeply within our faith – and in prayer – to recognize our responsibilities.
It is no surprise that this struggle often causes us to be filled with doubt, and in too many cases, to try to wash away that doubt in ways that conceal His plan and our place within it. Perhaps we can find some solace, some peace, by looking more closely at ourselves and society to see how our actions can be more closely aligned with Christian Law.
We live in a world that has stopped looking to man’s, much less Christ’s Law – Many of those we face on a daily basis, and even those who would be considered law-abiding citizens perceive the law as a limit on what they are allowed to do. It is inevitable that when so many people adopt such an attitude toward man’s laws, they can even more easily cast aside God’s Laws. As a result, we who are charged with enforcing man’s laws must bridge the gap between our faith and the visible world we face.
Sometimes, fulfilling the Law feels more like abandoning it – Where Christ teaches us to act with kindness and compassion, we sometimes find ourselves in situations where our actions are anything but kind and compassionate. But we must remember that our compassion needs to be directed toward the community or society at large, rather than its members. Recalling Christ’s actions in response to the money-changers outside the Temple should remind us that there are elements within society that must be dealt with firmly, for the greater good.
There is Biblical precedent for actions that appear distasteful from a Christian perspective – As Christians; we almost universally revile the betrayal of Christ by Judas. Yet, in the greater scheme, that betrayal was an essential part of Christ fulfilling His destiny of death and Resurrection. Barring the very rare instances of inappropriate LEO behavior which the news media is so quick to denounce, the actions of the brothers and sisters in law enforcement by no means constitute a betrayal of Christ or His teachings. We can and should take the lesson of Judas’ actions to heart, and forgive ourselves for the uncomfortable necessities we might face while fulfilling our responsibilities to our society.
We are reminded to hate the sin, but love the sinner – Law enforcement personnel are only human, and it is natural when faced with a particularly offensive situation to feel animosity toward the people at the center of that situation. Our challenge is to diffuse difficult situations as gently as possible, and to recognize and release the anger we might feel. We don’t know the offenders story, so while we are responsible for preventing the offense, we also need to remember that it isn’t our place to “cast the first stone.”
“Vengeance is mine, …saith the Lord.” – There are some crimes that rightfully fill us with rage. Faced with brutality against children or the elderly, rape, and murder, how can we not wish for suffering upon those who commit such heinous crimes? We would be less than human if we didn’t yearn to avenge the harm that society’s sickest individuals do to its weakest members. But we in law enforcement are not afforded that dubious luxury, lest we lower ourselves to the level of those whose actions we despise. We are challenged daily to intercede, to prevent crimes whenever possible, and to bring those who commit crimes to justice. Once we have done our duty, we must then put our trust in others; in the legal system, and ultimately in God, to mete out punishment appropriate to each offense. This may well be our greatest challenge, but it is also perhaps our most important charge.
Perhaps most of all, law enforcement officers need to hold close the lesson in Romans 3:23, which reads, ” For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and to let go of the dark places within that arise when our actions don’t seem to mirror our faith. We must go forward each day, striving to live up to our calling, and to forgive ourselves when we stumble. We owe it to ourselves, as well as to those we serve and protect.
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.