Getting Both Sides of the Story
“…But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:” (Romans 13:4)
God ordained government. Romans 13:1 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.” As a politician, then, your job is ordained by God. Isn’t that a sobering thought! Of course, you’re not there to fulfill your personal whims. The Bible says the exact opposite! You are accountable to God for how you use your political power: “…He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3)
Romans 13:3 also says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Romans 13:4 also warns, “…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.” These “rulers” who are “a terror to the evil” and who “beareth not the sword in vain” and “execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” are the police. Police are not “rulers” in the sense of monarchs, but they have authority to enforce laws just as you have authority to enact them. Their authority comes from God’s Word, just as yours does.
We need good politicians to enact and support good laws. We also need police to deal with those who break laws. The Bible says violent criminals should fear the police: “…But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:” If internal morals won’t keep Johnny from robbing the store or kicking in a house, then fear of the police may be what it takes to help him re-think his plans.
No decent cop wants to use deadly force, by the way; not just because of the seriousness of using deadly force but also of how he’ll be affected personally. He’ll likely be on restricted duty until the investigation is over. That means no part-time work and his family finances take a hit. His name and photo may be on the news. His kids may be questioned by other kids in school. People may condemn him publicly who don’t know the facts. By the way, here is how Proverbs 18:13 describes people who talk without knowing the facts: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
We love freedom in America, but someone has to do the dirty work of confronting bad guys. That’s why we have an Armed Forces. Many in our military have been wounded and killed in service to America. We also like law and order, but someone has to do the dirty work of confronting bad guys on the street. That’s why we have cops. When people need help against criminals, they don’t call reporters, college professors, or social workers. They call police. Many cops have also been wounded and killed in this struggle.
Police work is an adverse job by nature. Cops write tickets, run warrant checks, pat people down, and make arrests. No doubt people will complain at times, and no one is naïve enough to think cops never do wrong. Yet the current, broad-brush anti-police media beating can discourage good proactive police work. Cops can become less willing to make traffic stops, check out suspicious activity, or do any more than the absolute minimum. What cop would want to be the next “OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT” on the news?
When police can’t do their jobs, the people hurt most are decent citizens in bad areas. These are upright people who have to live daily with the fear of violent criminals. Robberies, break-ins, drugs, and gunfire in the street are normal occurrences for them. They may not say so publicly for criminals to see them, but they support the police. They want and need good police service. Does anyone think about them?
When you hear of proposed legislation on police reform, take time to get the police side of the story. Talk with officers personally. Better yet, go for a ride-along in a police car on a hot summer night in the inner city. See what a cop’s world is really like. You’ll enjoy the experience, be better informed to make wise decisions on legislation, and earn respect from the police community for making the effort.
Finally, if you want to see from Scripture how to be sure of going to heaven when you die, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 6/22/2020
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822