By now, many of you have heard of the unspeakable tragedy that law enforcement encountered in a 24 hour period this week. I want to put details to each one of these tragedies and give you an opportunity to pray for those involved and their families.
2 Kitsap County Deputies shot in Washington
Gunman opens fire in Detroit Precint, shooting four officers
Shooting leaves Oregon Officer Critical
Two St. Petersburg Officers Killed & U.S. Marshall injured
Indianapolis Officer Shot In Face. Expected To Die.
"I have never seen anything like it" stated Craig Floyd of the National Law Enforcement Memorial. There have been several well known writers explain the last 24hours and what we need to do as a profession to prevent this in the future.
Dave Smith says that we must develop a "Conspiracy of Safety" and Floyd stated that "we must do everything in our power to stop these senseless and heinous crimes against our law enforcement personnel."
I agree with all of that. It is absolutely true. We have lost 14 officers since January 1, 2011 and that trend must be stopped but as a Christian there is something much more pressing to consider.
A Christian Officer's Response
As a Christian Peace Officer, there should certainly be an effort to prevent line of duty deaths. We should be vigilant, safe and protect those around us but there is a much more pressing issue. One that makes the tragedy's between Sunday and Monday of this week seem like it never happened.
What are we doing to reach those around us with the Gospel?
If the first month of 2011 does not wake us up to the reality that death could be any minute, I'm not sure anything will. We must take an urgent approach to proclaiming the Gospel to those in our profession. Nothing else matters...period. You can spend days upon days of training to protect yourself and your co-workers in Officer Safety (and you should do that) but if you never have an effort to protect those around you in regards to "eternity", your efforts in the "here and now" are nothing more than a cruel, temporary effort to a path full of destruction and death (Matthew 7:13) to those around you.
Your efforts now will no doubt be seen as commendable but if you are a Christian and you are not faithfuilly proclaiming the Gospel to the same people you are trying to make safe than you are not only unfaithful...you are keeping the greatest survival secret ever given to man to yourself.
Why Aren't We Witnessing?
I think there is a pretty straightforward answer to this. Jesus tells us that if the world hates you, it hated Him first (John 15). We are told in 2 Timothy 3:12 that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." If we are faithful in telling others about Christ (Matthew 28) than it will be uncomfortable. Trials and even persecution will come. You see, when we choose not too witness because it is not comfortable or we are afraid of the very words of Jesus Christ, we are loving the world more than we love Jesus. Jesus had something to say about that as well.
My good friend and Director of the Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry, Sgt. M.C. Williams, found out exactly how unpopular speaking about Christ and salvation was. Recently following a line of duty death, he questioned whether the dead officer knew the Lord and he was squarely blasted for doing so. Keep in mind, he did not do this in a disrespectful fashion or in an unloving manner. He simply proclaimed the truths of salvation and that it had nothing to do with someone's profession. The words of Jesus were true that day for M.C. and if you proclaim truths, rest assured they will be true for you but you must understand the alternative.
Nobody spoke more about hell in the New Testament than Jesus did. He used words like “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12) and “gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13) and “torment” (Luke 16:23) and unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43) and eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). It is, in His mind, eternal, conscious, and horrible. That makes the deaths of the nearly 19,000 officers killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, seem like nothing.
If you believe what Jesus said (and if you are saved, you believe every word), than that makes any consequences of sharing your faith seem like nothing.
Don't get me wrong. I don't write this as someone that proclaims the Gospel every chance I should. I don't and I mourn for the times I have not been obedient but let's not let the fact that we haven't done it in the past be an excuse to not do it in the future.
The good news is that there is information available today like no other time in history. There are resources for you like no other Christian Officer has ever had the opportunity to use. I realize you may not be able to personally speak to every officer around you but there are a wide range of things you can do to overcome that.
Let me encourage you to study and ensure that your Gospel Presentation is Biblical. I recommend The Gospel & Personal Evangelism (Mark Dever), Hells Best Kept Secret (Ray Comfort)and the School of Biblical Evangelism. Here is a resource that will be sent to you for free.
To specifically target law enforcement, our ministry has some excellent resources. I was able to give out a copy of Take Up The Shield to every peace officer in my agency and many others around the country have done the same. We offer this book at a 50% discount if you order 80. We also offer a Challenge Coin that proclaims the Gospel and if you want to utilize technology, send those around you a link to this Gospel Presentation and ask them what they think.
Maybe you are concerned that you can't share your faith at work. Then join Facebook, ask those around you to "friend" you and then proclaim the Gospel on your Facebook account or send all of them an e-mail when you are off duty. Or let our ministry witness to them. Send us an e-mail at: "Cross (AT) tenfourministries.org" with the address of the officer and we will send them a Gospel Tract along with a free Cross medal. Do the words of Jesus come true when we do that? Absolutely but it's ok because we are fully aware of the alternative to our heroes in uniform.