Last night was the 5th annual “Night to Unite,” hosted by the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department, and it was also attended by other emergency organizations. The purpose of the night was to support those in our community who keep us safe and provide vital services, and many from the community came to show their support. It was encouraging to see this support, because it seems that the attitude toward police in recent years has been decidedly downturned. It’s true that when an officer gives or risks his life while on duty, the public is supportive, like the officer recently murdered in West St. Paul.
But then there are the times when the police remain safe and a perpetrator is injured or killed. Take, for instance, the instance of policemen taking down a Staten Island man, which resulted in his death after an apparent chokehold. Or the California Highway Policeman who allegedly beat up a great-grandmother. Or the Oklahoma man who was killed by five officers who showed up to investigate a domestic disturbance. The reaction against these unfortunate occurences is inordinate, especially when not all the facts are presented. Television shows and movies often portray policemen as crooked, stupid, or power-hungry. To be sure, there are policemen who do not do their job, just as there are pastors who are corrupt, or bankers who are thieves, or doctors who are killers. But the vast majority of our law enforcement are people who love and want to serve their fellow man, and who would rather talk to someone than injure them.
Government is not a clever social invention, but is God’s idea. In Genesis 9:5 God institutes government in giving man the right to enforce laws on other men, even at the point of death. Perhaps the best passage describing how God sees our friends in law enforcement is in Romans 13, where it says: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” God has put, not only our elected officials, but policemen and women into our lives to help us. This is more true for the peace-keeping officers who watch over us in Park Rapids.
What should be our response? We should thank and encourage law enforcement officers when we meet them. We should let them know we appreciate the sacrifices they make, both on the job and with their families. We should also pray for them. Pray for their safety while they answer dangerous calls. Pray for wisdom in difficult situations that call for split-second decisions. Pray that God would protect their families and give them peace in a very stressful job.
I thank God for our sheriff, deputies, and policemen. They really are God-sent.