"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." (James 2:14-18)
Have you ever thought about the fact that if you, as an Officer, Deputy, Trooper, or Agent, claim the name of Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are under constant surveillance by all those you work with? Don’t let anyone tell you different. You are a witness for Christ every day by what you do or don’t do, say or don’t say. You are either a good witness or a poor witness. Which are you?
You might say, “I don’t use profanity, I try to keep my temper under control, I don’t laugh at filthy jokes” and so on. That’s good... no, that’s great; stay strong in those areas.
How about when you have to deal with the homeless? I am talking about those stinking derelict lazy bums. You know, the ones who need to go out and get a job. Those drug-addicted, thieving drunks who make our job miserable some times. No one wants them near their shops; people complain about them at the street corners with their “will work for food” signs. Cops get called, we arrive on the scene and what now? Being homeless is not against the law.
Let’s stop right here and as a Christian do a compassion check. I am not talking about neglecting your street survival training ever, I just want you to check your compassion meter. Remember, you are a witness to those around you.
Do you give them a swift kick in the pants and in your best command voice tell them to “move on”? I must admit I have been guilty of that myself. Not my brightest moments. When God gave me back my compassion, it arrived as a mighty flood. I was shamed and convicted by how I had treated others at times. Genesis 1:27 says “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created the homeless just like He created us. Does not 2 Corinthians 5:20 tell us, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God was pleading through us ...” What about our Cop verse, Romans 13:4 which says, “we do not bear the sword for nothing.” Yes, it says that but the first part of the verse states, “But he is God’s servant (minister) to do you good.”
Here are a few Proverbs concerning the poor:
Proverbs 14:31 - "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
Proverbs 17:15 - "He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished."
Proverbs 19:17 - "He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done."
Proverbs 21:13 - "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."
Proverbs 22:2 - "Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all."
Proverbs 22:22 - "Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court."
Proverbs 28:27 - "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."Proverbs 31:9 - "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Where is your compassion for people? I am not suggesting that you turn into some type of Social Worker. I am encouraging you to let the Holy Spirit shine through you so that others see it. God has placed you within the Law Enforcement Agency you are now serving. He has also set you apart, you are different, your true boss is God and His Holy Word is your manual. The men and women that you work with should be able to see something very different in you.
Will you always be met with praise and thanksgiving from the homeless you try to help? – No. Will the complaining public always understand when you pick the homeless person up and dust him off and try to help him find food & shelter? – No. How about other cops? Will they see someone they have never seen before? This is what happened to me; one day a swift kick to the pants; the next, dusting the homeless off, trying to help them move on with life. Thank you Lord for giving me back my compassion!!!
If you have lost your compassion for people over the years in your Law Enforcement career, ask God to restore it once again. If you have compassion for people, then you will have a compassion for the lost sinner destined for eternal Hell. If you have compassion for the lost sinner, then you will, as stated in 1 Peter 3:15-16, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."
One of FCPO’s founding fathers, LAPD Sgt. Karl Traber, said it best; “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Show the world around you today your faith by your good deeds in Christ.
Paul Lee, Executive Director (Retired Captain, Chattanooga P.D.)
Paul Lee retired from the Chattanooga Police Department with 29 years of service. He has been an FCPO member since 1995, is a former Chapter Chairman and has served in various capacities on the National Board.