With the events of this past week still fresh in our minds I want to comment and reflect on the nobel profession for which I have been privileged to be a part of for more than 20 years – law enforcement. While I am not a sworn officer, I have spent my career surrounded by some of the finest men and women on the face of the planet who have sworn to protect the people they serve. Men and women who train to love. Yes, you read it correctly – they train to love you.
What you witnessed last week as you watched the news footage from San Bernardino was the most unadulterated expression of love you will find in human beings. It is love that says, “I will not just stand between good and evil, I will run after evil until it is stopped.” It is love that says, “I will do this not just for the ones I love but I will do it for everyone.” And it is love that says, as the Deputy from San Bernardino put so eloquently, “I will take a bullet before you do – that’s for damn sure.”
Aside from the men and women in our military I do not believe there is another profession that is more Christ-like than law enforcement. The Bible talks a lot about love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) It also says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) God’s love is sacrificial and it doesn’t come as response to what we have done. In fact, it comes in spite of what we have done. We don’t deserve it. It is powerful. It is unadulterated. It cannot be stopped.
The men and women of law enforcement in your community have been chosen by God to represent Him and His love for you. Whether they believe in God or not is inconsequential. They have been chosen by Him to enact His love on this earth in the same way that His own Son enacted His love… through the potential of sacrificing their own lives for the sake of yours. Very few of the rest of us will ever have the privilege of delivering God’s love in that way.
Unlike God’s Son however, these officers are not perfect. Their lives do not bring salvation as Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection does. They, like you, make mistakes – sometimes very serious mistakes because of the power they have been given. But I guarantee you with very, very little exception, what motivates our officers to do their job every day is love. Some of them may be too tough to admit that, but I don’t know how else to define what they do for you every day. Whether they are writing a ticket to hold you accountable for actions that may get you or someone else hurt, or running into a gun battle to save lives it is a heart filled with love that drives them. Their day is spent looking for evil and trying to defeat it. And when they are not looking for it they are training to be better at defeating it. Every second of their work day (and much of their off-duty time) is spent training to love you better and keep you and your family safe.
These past couple of years have been tumultuous for the law enforcement community. Regardless of your feelings about cops or any injustices you may have personally experienced at the hands of law enforcement, I can only say that they will continue to love you. They will defend the law that gives you the right to speak out against them. They will even put themselves on the front line and take rocks and bottles from you. They will continue to arrest bad guys even when voters have taken the teeth out of the laws that keep the law-breakers behind bars. They will continue to respond to your calls whether you love them or hate them. Because it’s all about love. And we will keep loving you because that is what we have been called to do.
God’s love is as relentless as the long arm of the law. It is unshaken by our temper tantrums, our misdeeds and our out-right rejection of it. His love is relentless. His sent His Son to die for us while we were still His enemy. I pray that you accept His love. If you don’t know Him personally, He knows you, He loves you and He wants a relationship with you.
I also pray that you will come to understand that the officers that work in your community love you. They show it to you every day in ways that you are not even aware of. They are willing to give their life in order to save yours. They do it every day. They do it day and night. And they do it for you. THIS is love.