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DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Thank God for the human authorities

Law enforcement is a gift from God and, in part, do his work. Christians should bear this in mind as police officers increasingly come under attack.

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Pastor Joshua Hawn

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day, which commemorates those police officers fallen in the line of duty. In 2020, 105 officers died as a result of violence inherently associated with the job. This does not take into account risks associated with COVID-19, which took 234 law enforcement lives last year.

It's one of the most dangerous occupations in our community, and we can thank God we aren't having a memorial for any officer here in the Park Rapids area.

Every Christian ought to be a supporter of those who serve our community through law enforcement. Why? Because the Bible says that they are, in part, doing God's work.

Romans 13:4 says, “He is the minister of God to thee for good.” Paul commanded obedience to those considered “higher powers” (humans endowed with authority) because it was ordained by God.

I don't need to tell you that there is an attack on law enforcement. Some want to abolish it altogether, which can only end disastrously. Some want to kill police officers, and have tried to do so. Most are somewhere in the middle, but the trend is toward a disrespect at best, defiance at worst toward peace officers.

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You don't have to be a Christian to know that law-abiding citizens shouldn't need to fear police. Romans 13:4 says, “If thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

This is not to minimize those who do fear police, nor to say that police don't need to be held accountable for wrong actions. It's just to admit that something is broken.

Ask any police officer, and he/she will tell you bad cops need to be punished. The same goes for bad doctors, bad mechanics, bad teachers, and bad pastors. But to pretend we have the right to denigrate every peace officer because of some is to disregard the words of Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

In America, we have the freedom to ask legislators to rewrite laws we don't like. But if we don't like the laws, we can't ask officers to not enforce them.

I have spent almost a hundred hours in ride-alongs with officers, and can assure anyone that they treat citizens with respect, courtesy, and care. They know that if they're meeting you, it's not your best day, and they are sensitive to that.

I am so grateful for what they do and show my support in every way I can. But if I felt otherwise, as a Christian, I would still be obligated to obey and respect them. Let me encourage you to do the same.

Pastor Joshua Hawn serves at First Baptist Church in Park Rapids.

Related Topics: FAITH
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