In light of the recent events in our community I am sure that anxiety is running high and frustration is running deep. Law enforcement is difficult in and of itself, physically demanding, emotionally draining and mentally taxing. Each of you have walked into horrific situations and dealt with situations that you will remember the rest of your lives. You have been called names and treated in ways that no human being should ever be treated when your only goal was to keep people safe. The strain on spouses and children alone can be overwhelming at times, but when we add the pressures of last week’s violent protests on top of an already demanding job, things might seem pointless or even hopeless at times. But, despite how hard things may be in our country, in our communities and now in Charlotte and the surrounding areas don’t give up and don’t lose faith. Each and every one of you is needed and important to the health and well-being of our community. Because you are willing to do your job lives are saved and people’s well-being is protected. Here are a few things to remember as you struggle with the inherent difficulties of your job:
When you get discouraged with your job: remember, God has tasked you not with a job but with a calling. Your job is more than a list of responsibilities and a paycheck, it is a position given to you by God for the well-being of the community. In Romans 13:1-3 God reminds you of that calling, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.” You have been given a solemn duty by God Himself to uphold the law and to seek justice on behalf of the community.
When you get angry: notice that even justice must be driven by compassion, mercy and empathy. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Although your calling as a police officer deals primarily with the issue of justice, justice must go hand-in-hand with love, mercy, kindness and compassion. Without these qualities justice will eventually become cruel and will begin to harden our hearts to the needs and hurts of those around us. It is out of compassion, and mercy, and a heart of love for your community that we must seek justice: “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4). Don’t let the rhetoric and the hatred of a few dictate how you will fulfill the calling that God has placed upon you as a police officer.
Finally, when you are tempted to feel isolated and alone in your job: remember that you are not alone. You stand shoulder to shoulder with men and women across this country who also stand for truth and seek justice. And behind you stands a community that supports you and wants you to succeed, because in your success our community prospers. But even more important than that, Christ tells us that as we believe in Him, as we turn to Him, that He will not leave us: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
And so as you put on the uniform tomorrow and as you take up your badge know that you are not going to work, you are going to fulfill a God given duty and a calling. And as you fulfill that calling with integrity and a commitment to justice know that the churches and people in your community will be praying for you: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
So in spite of hardship don’t give up, keep the faith, and continue to serve our community because it matters and it makes a difference. And as you do that, know that the community thanks you for your service and your sacrifice, we thank you for your commitment and integrity in the face of hardship, and we thank you for the sacrifice your families make on our behalf. Thank you for making our community a better place.
With Much Gratitude,
Chaplain, Mint Hill Police Department