Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pray for the Police

Four years ago while staying at a friend’s place in North Dakota, he loaned me DVDs of old movies and TV shows. One of them had episodes of the original “Dragnet” series from the 1950s. I recalled watching the reboot from the late 1960s while growing up and started seeing them again on YouTube. That gave me greater respect for those in law enforcement.

Unfortunately, not every policeman does his job with excellence. Last Monday in Minneapolis, a white officer named Derek Chauvin pressed his knee upon the neck of a handcuffed African-American man for several minutes. George Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Judging from videos I’ve seen of this incident, Floyd didn’t appear to be resisting arrest. It wasn’t until four days later that manslaughter and third-degree murder charges were brought against Chauvin.

Meanwhile, riots broke out in Minneapolis and other cities. It brought back memories of the violence that erupted following the acquittal of the Los Angeles policemen who beat up Rodney King in the early 1990s. The mayhem in Minneapolis hits closer to home since I lived in the Twin Cities area for many years. (In fact, I flew out of Minneapolis last weekend.)

While I can sympathize with those mistreated by bad law enforcement officers, retaliating with violence is not the solution. It causes more problems for everybody. I also don’t agree with publicly shaming the officers involved with George Floyd’s death. One Facebook friend posted a meme on my wall labeling Chauvin’s partner “the scum of the earth.” I quickly took that down. George Floyd’s fiancée has spoken out against the violence and asked everyone to forgive the policemen. As Jesus said in Mark 11:26, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Last year in Massachusetts, a man staying in the same house with me unexpectedly died. I briefly chatted with one of the policemen investigating the scene. In response to my telling him that I pray for those in law enforcement, Joe replied, “We can use all the prayer we can get.” I got to lead this officer to the Lord. 

While doing street ministry, I go out of my way to thank police officers for their service. Behind every badge is a man or woman who sacrifices their lives to protect and serve their communities. They deserve our respect and need our prayers.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.“ - 1 Timothy 2:1-2

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