A friend of mine is a police officer, though this is not well-known, even in his family, for their own protection. He wrote an insightful note to me yesterday, i want to share a few highlights:
i just watched your video "The solution to Police..." I typically don't watch social media posts about policing these days because it's just too easy for many to comment without any committment to the subject matter. I do respect your views though so i was curious.
I just want to respectfully share my opinion.
I have been in law enforcement for over 20 years and my view is that police are servants of the community, protectors, who put more on the line for others on a daily basis than any religion, charity, profession, non profit organization, etc. police go to work everyday go to work every day faced with the consequences of failures in society. Criminology identifies many cause / contributing factors in why people commit crime, none of which begin with the justice system. I have had experiences with those who committed crimes who faced alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, poverty, lack of or poor parenting, mental disorders, desperation, as well as less severe contributing factors such as a sense of unfairness, inequality, crime of opportunity, and poor judgment. Please Watch this video.
Now imagine if your family was home alone during an armed robbery of your home. Imagine their fear. Imagine receiving the call from a terrified person who cant (physically or out of fear) protect themselves...or their children, and facing with the worst day in their life. How would you respond if a family member called you telling you someone was in your house, had a gun to their head. You race down the street and see someone matching the description a few houses away. Its ironic that the outspoken social media vows to commit violence against a child molester but condemns the actions of a police officer who shoots a suspect that, 10 seconds later, would have killed the officer glorifying the person with a long history of violence in the middle of a violent crime.
Even though police are held to a higher standard in society and, although fallible, they maintain their professionalism, follow strict rules and guidelines, know they will be condemned regardless if their actions are righteous all while in a fight for their life. It is now more than a double standard. It is the onset of a lawless society.
Most have no idea what is involved with policing. I have watched hundreds of hours of HGTV yet every home renovation project i take on involves an injury. Why is it the society can watch a 10 second news clip and have all of the answers for police?
Although i am behind a desk now, there were plenty of times i had to leave my house in the middle of the night, my babies and my wife sleeping, and rush into a situation most people run from, most people consider their worst day, outnumbered, into a high risk, mostly unknown situation.
I've been to more funerals than i can count for peers involved in similar situations. I have had my life and my family's life, threatened several times...once by someone with PTSD from Viet Nam, once by a schizophrenic person who, after i handcuffed him, told me he was 30 minutes away from killing his ex-wife and that had i turned my back on him, would have used the sawed-off shotgun i found under his car seat to blow my head off and leave me dead on the side of the road.
I listened to radio calls of my long time partner being choked by one guy while being kicked by another and attempting to get his gun. I couldn't drive fast enough.
I've listened to radio calls of a co-worker unsuccessfully giving CPR to another co-worker. I have had the long end of shift rides shaking because of how close i was to not making it home.
Please also watch this video. Even though a training scenario in no way provides the full experience of a real scenario, it is enough to completely change the perspective of a very strong willed, anti police person.
I want to close with a couple of comments. As in most social media, the brief glimpse i provided will most likely not provide the entire perspective i have experienced nor make a very strong impact on your views. It is a very difficult task and i didn't expect it to. I do hope that, as in your experience with the police, you can see multiple viewpoints besides the personal impact; the views of the victims, the views of the police. I also want to say that in no way do i want this to come across in an adversarial manner. Since i have a connection with you, i felt safe to engage in a friendly dialogue on a relevant and serious topic. I certainly respect your viewpoint as it provides a different perspective.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:12-15
An old pal from college calls me, I'm not even sure if he's a Christian. Doesn't matter, I love the guy. Anyway, after pleasantries, our conversation went something like this:
Him: I need help man, my marriage is in trouble.
Me: Sure, what's up?
Him: It started small, I can't even remember the fight a month ago. Now we can hardly look at each other. If it wasn't for the kids, I'm not sure if we'd stay together.
Me: Alright, bro, well, look, I've been there. I know what its like. The difference is, as you know, I believe in God and the Bible and its a great tool in a time like this. So my answer is going to come from there, you know that, right?
Me: Alright, well, here's what you do. Take your lunch break at work tomorrow, a good hour at least, and sit quietly and pray. I know you're unsure about God, just pretend you believe and that He's there and he's your friend. Ask God to show you how He sees your wife because he made her and he sees her differently than you do right now. And if over the hour of just listening, if God gives you any thoughts about your wife, write them down. Then go to your wife and tell her the things that God showed you as a way to break through the downward spiral. Do you think you can do that?
Me: Alright bro, can I pray for you guys too? Prayer is powerful.
I got off the phone and we didn't talk for at least a month. I had no idea what happened, but I prayed for him once or twice.
Some time later, he calls me just to catch up. I had actually forgotten about their fight. He brought it up, telling me that I was a lifesaver during that time. He said he did what I said and God had given him things to share with his wife, and that it got things moving in the right direction, and everything was going much better now.
You can imagine how encouraged I was to learn that he went to God in prayer, that despite his unbelief God revealed himself to this friend of mine, that through it all the division between him and his wife was overcome by love. This is the God of the Bible that I serve.
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stoneand give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:26-27
I was traveling on the East Coast, and I took a bite into a Chik-fil-A sandwich. They aren't so prevelant in San Jose yet. I posted a picture of said sandwich, to which a reply was soon posted that I was supporting a hate group.
When I read the message, I had an immediate sense that a serious division was being dropped between myself and this dear brother. I prayed right away. I was in a good place at that time, in the Word, feeling full of peace and love. And so I called this brother, no answer. I left a message. There was nothing to hide, even though I simply like Chik-fil-A's chicken sandwiches, I am full aware of the positions both for and against their Christian stance.
Days go by, no return call. I call again. Still nothing. The weight of division growing wider caused me distress. I decided to pray and fast over it. I enlisted others to pray with me over it. One night, while praying with a friend, the friend pointed out that it was not be who had division in my heart, but rather this brother who did. So we shifted our prayer for the brothers heart, that God would work in it and soften it toward me.
Within 48 hours, I received a call from this brother. It was on Mother's Day, I will never forget it. As I received it, I looked up to the sky through the trees and at the son, and I said that you Jesus. On the phone, this brother said to me that he wants to talk to me when the time is right, but more importantly that he loves me, and that he knows I am a good guy. He was reminded of this because he ran into a guy while playing softball who, after putting "two and two together" realized he knows me, and who then gave this brother of mine unsolicited words about how I am a good guy. These words were received and they rekindled a love for me, and that is why he was calling.
As I heard this story over the phone, tears came to my eyes. I just kept saying in my thoughts, "praise you God, praise you!" To see a prayer work so clearly, so dramatically, so fast, it is amazing to behold! Only God can change hearts like this, without any human interaction between us in the meantime. Where the Enemy (Satan) seeks to divide and destroy, God is all powerful for redeem.
To top it off, this brother of mine concluded by saying that it was too long since he'd seen me, and that he would book a flight for a visit within a week, which he soon did. This was an amazing turn of events, and I was delighted. Though, mixed with my delight was a growing concern around this conversation I would have with this brother. I knew that he had a firm belief that Chik-fil-A and their Christian stance, specifically in favor of the traditional family, was wrong. And I know he knows that I share the same Christian values, so what would become of our conversation?
Upon his visit a few weeks later, we had a delightful time. There was no early confrontation, and through much prayer and fasting before his arrival, I felt well prepared to talk about anything, especially Jesus! We took a day trip to Sonoma to visit wine country. A great day, but as we left, my dear brother did not stop imbibing on wine. In fact, he opened a bottle in the backseat of the car, and against protests, kept drinking. Soon he was becoming confrontational, angry even. He began to come at me "swinging" for my beliefs.
The situation became very uncomfortable. I did not want to even speak or rationalize with someone who was drunk. And yet, the tirade had to stop. I raised my voice, "Let me tell you why you are here," I said. I reminded him how a month or so ago he would not return my calls, how he was angry at me because of my post about Chik-fil-A. He said he remembered this. I told him how it distressed me so that I prayed and fasted for several weeks. He was silent. Then I recalled how he ran into someone, quite randomly, who exclaimed my character so that he had a change of heart, and called me, which led him to take the trip to visit. I said, "Can't you see, God loves you, he brought you here!" As I said these words, my dear brother broke down in tears, he accepted the love of God in that moment, I believe, and he even repeated the words, "God does love me, he does." It was a tender moment, we both cried.
I wish I could tell you that the division was eliminated entirely on that night, it was not. After all, drunkenness and shame were still present. The next day, there was a sheepish sense and my brother wanted to avoid me, I think. However, there was no reason for it--that would just be allowing victory to the enemy. And so I sat next to him, put my arm around him, I told him I love him, that we can always talk and even when we do not agree, we will still love each other in words and in action. He apologized for his behavior, and I immediately forgave him. I said we must forget about it, and was determined to move on and have a fun day, after all, it was my birthday!
In conclusion, what I learned most about this trial is that God heard my prayer and fasting brought a brother to me, He changed a heart, put someone in my brothers path to remind him. I also learned that in this case, that far more than words or a carefully constructed argument, it was my life itself that likely spoke to my brother. It was how my wife made such a big deal over my birthday with thoughtful gifts and homemade recipes. It was how we visited an early morning prayer group and the guys were so welcoming. It was how we played golf and a friend stopped to pray before we tee'd off and my pals were fighting over who could pay for lunch. It is the authentic overwhelming love of Jesus, expressed in relationships and community, that draws someone to God.