As a law enforcement officer you handle situations with good people who make mistakes for the most part. However, there are incidents when a law enforcement officer encounters individuals who are so dark with a hardened soul that they are absolutely dangerous. There was an individual who allegedly was in a shooting with his girlfriend and I was alerted to be watching for his vehicle. As his vehicle strolled by I initiated a traffic stop.
In situations like this, officers’ conduct a hot stop which is having the individual exit the car at gunpoint following commands so they can be safely apprehended. I was in the middle of giving the commands when the individual started to turn around. I didn’t know if he was about to pull a gun or if something else was going through his mind. I yelled at him, “I swear to God I will shoot you”. He immediately complied.
I wrestled internally thinking I could have killed this man. With that I was flooded with thoughts such as how would his mom feel, how would his family feel, how would the public feel and how would I feel. As I pondered this incident in the coming weeks I felt nobody understood what it is like to make a split second decision whether a person will live or die unless they are cops and military for the most part. In my heart I heard a small voice tell me I was absolutely wrong and each of us hold the gun at people every day. The spirit of the Lord brought me to Proverbs 18:21:
Proverbs 18:21King James Version (KJV)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
I realized how important our tongue is and the power we each hold. Then I was taken to Isaiah 59:3-9
Isaiah 59:3-9 (NIV)
For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. 4No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. 5They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. 6Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. 7Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. 8The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace. 9So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
Our thoughts and actions often are precursors of words. When we repeat gossip and information we don’t even know if it is true, the blood stains and guilt are on our hands. Our words conceive trouble and give birth to evil. The words provide seeds which hatch sometime later poisoning and killing various blessings and opportunities in our lives. Our feet rush to sin. We like gossip and dirt. The indwelling sin inside of us desires to feed on such things like parasites on our soul. These parasites deprive our soul of essential nutrients to have a purpose filled life with peace and destiny.
Based on these actions it becomes evident we don’t know peace. We ruin our surroundings turning roads into crooked paths destroying the environment and those around us don’t know peace. We also withhold righteousness and favor. We hope for light but remain in darkness. James 3:10 expounds:
James 3:10 (KJV)
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
We say the community of Carr is the last Mayberry, because they come to each other’s aid. I have seen and heard stories of help in floods, broken furnaces, pumps, sharing food, clothing and other financial blessings. The community unites, we work together and we bless each other. God has commanded all communities to work together in this way. You are an essential piece of your community. Our mouth can work two ways, blessing or cursing. I want to challenge you to help with the change and keeping all communities a blessing. Shining the light of Christ to the world is a requirement of all of us.
We need to speak blessings. We may have rattlesnakes all around us, and walking in tall grass can be a little dicey, but we are not a community of viper eggs and you will not contribute to such. When someone wants to tell you information you shouldn’t hear, gently change the subject or find words of encouragement. For example, when we hear of the teenage child making bad choices we don’t say well she should have laid the law down a long time ago and that kid wouldn’t act that way. Instead point out the blessing they will become for Christ when they get back on the right track.
When someone wrongs you, like in traffic when they cut you off and you want to let them know about it. Consider blessing them and pray that whatever their hurry is, the Lord blesses them. We aren’t a community that is going to lay the groundwork for someone else to incubate our viper eggs. Get rid of those things before they hatch. Something you know from 1 year, 5 years, 20 year, 50 years, or 100 years ago should not continue to be incubated. Kill it, let it die and move on. You gain no power or blessing in life by harboring such destruction.
We love each other and that keeps us from being careless with our mouths to shed innocent blood. Every time you feel tempted to call someone an idiot, find some good thing about them and bless them. Our words teach peace, you don’t have to say someone should slap him upside the head. Instead you must say, how can we help? Let’s straighten the roads and add peace by sowing seeds of thoughtfulness, forgiveness and promise. God promises righteousness and favor for your efforts.
Don’t let your feet rush to sin. Your feet are to rush to render aid. Pray for others in the time of need. Give in the gaps and never look back. Most importantly we must speak blessings.
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Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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