Why We Love Our Police Officers – Because Freedom Isn’t Free

Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

When you ask little children what they want to be when they grow up, the #1 choice is secret agent. Not far behind: policeman. Being a policeman ranks higher in children’s’ minds then firefighter, professional athlete, even President. Kids know that it’s our policemen who “keep bad guys away”. They are their heroes who serve and protect them. Our Governor, Eric Greitens, agrees.

This week on Facebook, Governor Greitens posted this statement, honoring not only our fallen hero, Officer Gary Michael, but all police officers. So far there have been over 14,000 replies and over 7,300 shares: “On Sunday, Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael pulled a car over for an expired registration. The door swung open. A man stepped out and opened fire. Now Officer Michael is dead. He was an Army vet. He had three children and one grandchild. His brother said being a cop filled him with pride and purpose.

Yesterday, officers in Joplin pulled a truck over. An object flew out of the window and exploded in front of them. The cowards drove away. The cops chased them. Another bomb was thrown from the truck. A cop car was run off the road and smashed into a tree. Thank God no one was hurt. The suspects were caught.

That’s where the story stops for a lot of us. We mourn the dead. We wait for the news to confirm that the suspects are in custody. There’s another part of the story I want all of us to think about. The Michaels have an empty seat at their breakfast table. Their dad is gone. Police departments around the state are on edge today. Hundreds of cops will start their patrols and wonder if they’ll make it home. The families of cops saw the news too. They know that what happened to Officer Gary Michael or the Joplin police officers could happen to their loved ones—at any moment, at any time, even during a routine traffic stop.

Cops know their duty. They are trained. They are brave. But let’s not pretend they, and their families, aren’t human. They feel anger and fear about what happened. All of us should understand how hard it is to be a law enforcement officer today. We should think about how hard the last few days have been on our finest.

To our police officers: We are grateful for what you do and for what your families do. Your Governor stands with you. The people of Missouri stand with you. Stay safe, and know that a whole state is riding with you.”

Our verse this week, out of Psalm 82, is a great description of the sworn duty of our police officers. They give justice to the weak, they maintain the rights of those afflicted, and they rescue the weak by delivering them from the “hand of the wicked” – those who violate the law. There are many things on which people will disagree, but the absolute need to have our police to protect us from the wicked is not one of them.

Why do we rely on our law enforcement officers to risk their own lives on a daily basis for the sake of protecting ours? Because the fundamental right granted by God to all people – individual freedom – is not free. As our Governor just explained to us all in his honoring of Officer Michael, it comes at a terrible cost.

Freedom must be vigilantly defended against those who would abuse it. To live in a free society means all people are allowed to live out their lives under the premise they will choose to obey the rules. As Psalm 32:8-9 says, people have been created uniquely by God from all other animals, with the capacity to understand the difference between what is right and what is wrong: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding.” To take away any person’s right to live freely under the law is to treat people like animals.

True freedom isn’t doing what you want – that’s anarchy. True freedom is doing what you should. That means living within the law for the peace and well-being of all people. And that’s what Officer Michael, and all of our law enforcement officers, have sworn to defend – our right to live free.

Any officer graduating from the academy is required to take the following oath before officially serving as a police officer: “I do swear that I will well and truly serve our sovereign country and state – as a police officer without favor or affection – malice of ill-will – until I am legally discharged. That I will see and cause our community’s peace to be kept and preserved – and that – I will prevent to the best of my power – all offenses against that peace – and that – while I continue to be a police officer – I will – to the best of my skill and knowledge – discharge all duties thereof – faithfully – according to the law. So help me God.”

The next time you speak with a police officer, tell them “God bless you.” Because you truly hope He will.

“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #255

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