Written by Steven J. Turner
I wear the “thin blue line bracelet” and am reminded that we are all interconnected. I have a perspective on what the bracelet means to me.
My pastor challenged the congregation of Christians in which I worship on Sunday to consider God’s kingdom first in our view point of one another. We are not to see ourselves solely as citizens of certain cultures. That is my challenge to police officers and citizens. How do you see yourself in relationship to the God that you serve?
This is a “tough” position. I know that everyone reading this message is not Christian nor are all police officers Christian. I make the argument that we need to position ourselves to see one another as a person created in God’s image and not as cops and robbers or “perps” and good guys, or criminals and protectors. We need to look past the labels we give one another. This will not be easy. Here are two ways I plan to change as a result of the message I heard and I will share them with you.
First, I plan to pray for my enemies. Having grown up in the nineteen eighties and nineties in New York City, I developed certain adversarial beliefs about the police. Those beliefs were also encouraged by songs popular about police officers in the media. Those adversarial thoughts led to an us vs them mentality in which the police were my enemies. Of course there were exceptions such as my family members who I knew were police officers which made them, us but only partially. The fact is there was a dividing line, and I didn’t see my connection to them nor did I view them in a positive light. However in a kingdom mindset, I recognize no matter how antagonistic I may have been towards the police I need to keep them in sincere prayer. I will now pray for police every time that I learn something that would make me see them as an adversary. We must not let ourselves be divided because everyone is entitled to God’s grace.
Second, I will replay times when the police demonstrated courage, love, and intervention which could only be the glory of God working through them. The police are our hired public servants that are in a position to protect and serve the general public at risk to their own self interests. There were times in my life when the police have helped me such as the time I had a car accident (not uncommon in Los Angeles) and they provided assistance or when the police assisted directing a funeral procession, or when they were valiant during 9/11. Every day there are times when a police officer by his or her presence in the community reminds people to respect others. There are countless times that officers do good work and is that work that is to be remembered. Officers must be held accountable for their wrong doing for not all of the work that police commit is right. Grace must be shown to that work as well.
In summation, all of God’s children are interconnected. We are part of God’s plan. Let’s respect God’s plan and respect each other. The bracelet that adorns my wrist reminds me that we must respect one another. May it also be a reminder to you that we are all bound together in the world and need to pray more for the peace of every individual.