In the three decades I’ve served in law enforcement and both before and after I came to faith in Christ, I’ve attended many police funerals. Of late, these services are coming far too often. In the vast majority of them, well-meaning folks say “nice” things like, “He’s patrolling the streets of heaven!” and “He’s resting in peace.” (RIP). Then there are the unbiblical quotes like the one from an oft-changed poem written by an unknown author: “…you’ve done your time in hell” and of course, “Blessed are the peacekeepers.” While I will no doubt anger some (nothing new), my charge as a Christian officer, trainer and chaplain are to lovingly share Gods’ ultimate, irrefutable truth in an effort to provide life-saving “backup” of the eternal kind.
Folks, the truth is that we won’t be “patrolling” as law enforcement officers in heaven and “blessed are the peacekeepers” is not in the Bible (but “peacemakers” is – keep reading). Moreover, God’s inerrant Word has never been disproved (irrefutable evidence that is not a matter of “opinion”) and the context of Matthew 5:9 is not about cops or achieving heaven by what we do in law enforcement. Let’s break it down:
The “Peacemaker” Jesus speaks of in His “Sermon on the Mount” in the Gospel of Matthew is directed towards “believers” (those we now call “Christians”) who, because of their relationship (not “religion”) with God in Christ, are at peace with Him. Moreover, the context of the passage reveals that we are “blessed” when we have repented of our sin, received the eternal peace that comes only by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior and then go out to share that peace (being “peacemakers”) with others.
Can you begin to imagine the changes we can make in our departments, communities, and even our nation if we serve as genuine, biblical peacemakers? No, I’m not talking about running around smacking people over the head with the Bible. Rather, I’m speaking of policing in a way which exemplifies our “peacemaker” calling while also staying true to our Romans 13:1-4 “commission” as cops to be ministers (the word in the original Greek means “servant”) for good and a terror against evil.
What about “separation of church and state”? Not in the Constitution (and a subject for a future article)! “Preaching” to those we serve, protect and arrest? Nope. Rather, I’m stating that when we serve with radically changed hearts, God will use us to make a radically positive impact on our families, agencies, and communities.
Finally, to the genuine peacemakers reading this, where is your Code 3 (lights and siren) sense of urgency to share the peace of Christ with your own? One way or another, this life is going to end and God is absolutely clear that we can’t “badge” our way into heaven (Jesus is the only way). Likewise, are you where you need to be so that when your time comes and someone says “RIP” or “blessed are the peacemakers,” it will have the intended meaning?
Need help? More information? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be honored to serve you.