This morning I woke to the news that 5 Law Enforcement Officers were killed overnight in Dallas. As a Law Enforcement Officer for more than 30 years, now retired, I cried watching the news. As an American I sat in unbelief that such an ambush could occur in our country. As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I was moved with compassion and pain for the families of the fallen. A series of waves of emotion overwhelming me as I watched.
Then I heard the press conference of the Dallas Police Chief. He gave chilling details of the stated intent on of the suspects. The Chief reported that one of the shooters stated he was upset over recent law enforcement involved shootings. He wanted to kill cops especially white cops. Not the officers that had been involved in the shootings earlier in the week that many questioned, but any cop anywhere. Especially white cops.
I began to pull my emotions together a little to think about where our society is today and what we as a society can do about it. My law enforcement background began to rear and my heart was to see cops in every community up arm and go in with overwhelming force and eliminate the group of people that support the false narrative of black lives matter. My thoughts were on retribution and the reestablishment of the superiority of law enforcement. I recalled what a former law enforcement boss said frequently; “Crime will not decrease until being a criminal is significantly more dangerous than being a victim”. I admit my initial thoughts were law enforcement must take back the streets with overwhelming force.
But the Holy Spirit worked in my heart and my emotions. The reality is that the use of overwhelming force would probably accomplish taking back the streets, but is that really the solution to the issue? No, ultimately it is not. We are not going to change our society through the work of law enforcement. Law enforcement will protect society and guard society but it will not really change it. Society will only be changed from the inside out, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What occurred in Dallas last night is the direct result of a very pervasive ideology and even theology that rejects God and His commands.
Our nation was formed with Judeo-Christian values and principles. But those values have been slowly pushed back from our society. The regression in society began very soon in the new young country. It seems it has accelerated in recent years as we have had an administration in the federal government and in many state governments that push back on the founding Judeo-Christian principles. God is no longer allowed to be a topic of conversation in polite society. Our children are being taught in school that there are no moral absolutes and it is only what society feels is right that is right. With this indoctrination our society has modified what is right, in a very devolving fashion.
We must, as followers of Jesus, return to the proclamation of the standard of truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must not recede from the fight in society because society rebels. We must proclaim the truth of the Word of God with a louder and firmer voice. In recent years many in the church have retreated from this fight. There has been a tendency to weaken the authority of the Word of God so as to not offend society. We cannot do that. We must stand firm on the Word of God and call sin exactly what it is, SIN. We must be the voice of reason and compassion in our society. We must love our neighbor as Jesus commanded us. That means even in the difficult times.
It has taken years for our society to devolve into the condition it is in today. Years of retreat by the church. It will take years of involvement in our communities to change the hearts of society. As followers of Jesus we have indwelling us the Holy Spirit. It is through the church that the Holy Spirit has an influence in the world, but only when we actually engage in our society.
As I watch the news this morning my heart breaks for Law Enforcement. I have shed tears this morning for Law Enforcement. But I also have shed tears because of the church retreating from her role of being salt and light to the world. Rather than desire to see overwhelming force of law enforcement officers coming to the streets let’s all pray that the church brings the overwhelming force of the Holy Spirit to the streets. Let’s all pray that the events of July 7, 2016 serve as wakeup call to the church and her role in society. I pray that the snipers who killed my law enforcement brothers receive the just reward for their deeds. I also pray that the families of the fallen and injured will be comforted. Today is a dark day in American history. But it can also be a day that sparked a great awakening in our society. It looked like it may happen after 9/11 but that soon faded. Please Lord, may it begin today.
Dr. Rich Schnieders
Friendship Grace Brethren Church
Fort Myers, FL