Awareness of urban, Black male interactions with police is frightening. I am a Black male and have lived in urban centers most of my life. I had a fear of the police.
God used a suburban, White woman to diminish my fear. She testified in worship and encouraged her listeners to do a ride along. When I heard her invitation, I was reading The God Ask, in which Steve Shadrach writes:
This is where the battle begins. This is "go time!" You and I can be the most prayed-up and planned-up people anywhere, but now is the real test. Will we face the giants in our mind, walk toward our fears, and reject passivity and procrastination? (God Ask, location 3140, kindle cloud reader)Caught in the cross hairs of my fears, her testimony and Shadrach's words, I prayed and began to walk toward my fears by applying for a ride along. As one ride along became many, I learned of the pain, fear and uncertainty of officers.
Officers walk into desperate situations over and over. The Body Keeps the Score says, "Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence." When PTSD strikes, molestation is discovered and domestic violence flares, we call the cops. Police absorb society's pain: a painful job.
Walking toward my fears created a burden for cops. I serve as a chaplain among police officers because I care about their pain. I am still Black, male and aware of problems in America.
I am also aware of problems in my relationship with the Lord. My sin pains God, yet God walks toward me. Officers' humanity pained my childhood. As Christ walks toward me with love, so do I walk toward cops with love. His love is changing me.
Jesus cares about cops and so do I.