Can a Christian be a Cop?
I’m often asked, “Who is God and why should I serve Him?” My answer is that God was the first cop. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery, and wrongdoing.” Isaiah 61:8a. The first cops were the cherubim of Eden placed there by God to prevent entry. What an awesome weapon God gave them – flaming swords!
Police officers can be found all through Scripture. Since police are acknowledged by God, particularly as peacemakers, it is imperative that LEOs have an understanding of God’s purpose for their work. Officers are included in Matt. 5:9. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Sons of God.”
Today’s peacemakers don’t know they are blessed and need God in their family, work, and lives. What a comfort it would be to officers to know that God says we are blessed because of our positions as LEOs. More officers must understand and believe this.
1 Corinthians 16:13 tells us, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be men of courage; be strong.” The 23rd Psalm states, “Though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil.
This is our daily experience, we walk through evil. We need to thank God every day, at the beginning and the end of each shift, for letting us walk through, the evil, rather than being consumed by it. We DO fear the things we experience. As officers, we need a strong spiritual foundation to support what we have to deal with.
As you continue reading the 23rd Psalm, notice we are not alone. We were not created to battle alone. The Apostle Paul never traveled alone. In that valley of death, the mean streets, who do you want beside you? I want someone who can carry me if I’m hit. I need God to carry me through.
There are only two people who can protect the sinful human race from destroying itself: God and the cop. The police officer is created and ordained by God Himself.
Our reality show is like no other. Policing is not easy. We work in the depths of depravity, amazed at what one person will do to another person, such as child abuse. With what we encounter, see, hear, smell, and experience, we need a sense of humor. We are told we are here to protect and serve, but the reality is we can’t protect everybody.
By the time we get a call and arrive, the damage may have already been done: the rape, child abuse, homicide, domestic violence, suicide, child molestation, etc. As human beings, we question ourselves about the times we are too late and the things that we have done too early! It’s no wonder an LEO may question the existence of a loving God, or even if there is a God at all, loving or not. It’s not easy to be a Christian and a cop.
Ever taken a good look at Lady Justice standing with scales in one hand, a sword in the other and a blindfold over one eye? In the final judgment, God will accept only responsibility for the actions of the dark side and not accept such things as suspended sentences, probation. God’s justice shall prevail.
1 Timothy 1:9a says: “Knowing this,that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient.”
The God of the Bible permits evil to come into the world. It is often hard to understand why or how it fits into His plan. He is NOT, however, evil’s direct creator. John 3:19 states, “Men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”
“Men love darkness because “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Have you ever noticed how the most heinous of crimes are committed in the darkness?
Psalm 94:1-4 states: O lord, the God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve. How long will the wicked, O Lord how long will the wicked be jubilant?”
We still ask the same question today! And Jeremiah complains in 12:1, “You are always righteous, O Lord. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Seems like things haven’t changed much.
Someone once said that “to fight the beast, you have to know the beast.” Today’s police officer must call upon the Lord for help, and for strength, to do their job with courage, integrity, morality, so that God will be glorified through their deeds.
It should be easy to understand why officers would need the Word of God and to hear that God loves them. Officer’s need to know that Scripture speaks to them:
Have you ever thought about the shield you wear? Our present shields take their shapes from the Roman shields of officers. Why is the shield important? Psalm 28:7 states, “The Lord is my strength and my shield.” Ephesian 6:16 states, “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Our shield is our faith. Is it any wonder that we need faith considering that the things we encounter or experience? We know that the reality is that we often can’t protect anyone. Officers often question themselves and the existence of a loving God or worse if there IS a God, loving or not.
Long before our cars had “To Serve and Protect” on them, it was Jesus’ motto because He first came to serve and He hung on the cross to protect us.
Remember Matt. 5:9 where we are known as “peace officers” before becoming a peacemaker, policeman, cop, etc. Truly, that is our job, to keep the peace.
There are times when even the strongest Christian has moments of doubt, even as some of the great prophets, like Jeremiah, had doubts.
We desperately need to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, to know that there is eternal peace, a place where evil does not exist, a place where we can find rest, support, love, true mercy, justice, and truth. We need to look forward to a place where there is light and not darkness. Police families need the same kind of peace and comfort which can be found when we turn to the Lord in troubled times and not the comforts of the world, which are few..
We need to share this knowledge of the good news, of the peace, and justice and truth to our brothers and sisters.
So, yes! A police officer can fulfill God’s purpose as a Christian and His servant.
Detective Gene Hall retired in 1997 after 30 years of service. Gene has been a police instructor since 1973. He is a coordinator with the Criminal Justice Institute, Palm Beach State College. Five years ago, Gene was led to start a ministry for LEO’s called thebibleandtheshield.com, He speaks to groups about the need for outreach to police officers and their families. This led to guest speaking engagements with Florida Men of Integrity/Iron Sharpens Iron conferences and representing Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers in South Florida. He is an active member of the American Police Chaplain’s Association and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. In 2013, he became the first volunteer chaplain with the Palm Springs (FL) Police Department. Contact Chaplain Gene at: email@example.com
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