Furious, betrayed, vengeful. These are the emotions I was harboring after hearing news that five officers had been killed, and six more wounded, by a group of hate-filled men last weekend. I harbored those feelings all weekend; and if I’m honest, it brought me a sense of satisfaction when I heard that the bad guys were all killed by law enforcement. Some would say my feelings were justifiable, but are they really? What would our God have us do, and feel?
Two out of my three best friends are police officers. I am friends with a handful more. I even interned with a federal agency full of good cops. They are all incredible men, with integrity and a genuine desire to do good for the world. At the end of the day, those officers in Texas did not deserve what they got, but what is the proper way of seeking justice for their deaths?
The bible is packed to the brim with verses about justice, and I am certain that justice was properly served in Texas last weekend. Where we (and more specifically, I) can get into trouble, is when we allow our feelings of anger, betrayal, and vengeance to turn into hate and judgment. This is the fine line where the enemy can plant seeds in our heart.
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The men who committed the crime, in this case, were hate filled men. But how did that hate grow? These men were no different than myself. They saw the news, and they saw Minnesota, and they too felt furious, betrayed, and vengeful. They allowed those feelings to morph into hate – and in their minds, they were doing a good thing by slaughtering those innocent, honorable police officers.
For those reasons, it is imperative that we find forgiveness in our hearts, no matter which side of the line we find ourselves on. We cannot ever allow our hearts to harbor hate, and we should always favor the side of love, forgiveness, and justice (justice and vengeance are different – that’s for another discussion).
There will be evil in this world for the foreseeable future, until Jesus comes back. Killings like Texas and Orlando will not go away, and the enemy would love nothing more than for us to harbor feelings of animosity in our hearts. If we do, he wins. God calls us to forgive, and to move on – and that is what we must do. To all of the police officers out there – stay safe, and thank you for your sacrifice; it is not an easy sacrifice y’all make.