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Heroes In Plain Sight

We see headlines addressing the continued pressure law enforcement encounters.

“Nearly 100 Dallas Officers Quit…”[1], “Indiana town left without a police department after every

officer quits…” [2]

Law Enforcement must confront evil and some of the most horrible scenes of human abuse to perform their calling as “ministers for good.” As public safety chaplains, we want to recognize the heroes in plain sight and stand at post with our brothers and sisters in arms as we support them and their families. To stay alive they often must make split second decisions where their lives are at risk. Then they must endure the attacks of those they serve, who may have biased views as result of some journalists distorting events , or sensationalizing stories in order to sell papers or boost ratings.

We can all pray for them to have heroic strength to withstand the media distortions, and for God to reveal the truth. They need us to pray for the safety of their family as well, even after the truth is revealed. So often the press reports only negativity and the uninformed public may echo more negativity. But, we serve heroes, extending tender mercies that often go unrecognized. [3]

In all facets of public safety, workers need us to pray for God to intervene, archive the recurring trauma and visuals, and bring healing to their soul. Their call to put away evil can be overwhelming. Suffering in silence is not the hero's burden to bear alone.

God calls and anoints people into places of authority to achieve His purposes. We need to serve them as the heroes they are, and support them as they continue on the job, so that evil people do not have free reign in our communities. Often as chaplains, we are with our heroes and see some of the same visuals they see in daily service. Often the officers are called upon to witness inhumane tortures, dismemberment, blood drenched scenes of cruelty, hate, and evil.

As they see evil’s ugly face, often it wounds their soul in trauma and moral injury. Some have shared that it will be at months before sleep returns without involuntary recalls of the visuals stuck in their minds. Some may not fully recover and may find their life and career in public safety and law enforcement is at risk.

We should all recognize the heroes in plain sight. We need more headlines highlighting the tender mercies that public safety officers extend to those they are sworn to serve and protect. We must be faithful to support the heroes we serve. We must also be faithful to model godly living in our service to them. We can bless those we serve, so they will have confidence that we serve the greatest Hero of all. In Psalm 16:3(NLT), The psalmist David writes, “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”

Here in the middle of this psalm focused on God’s faithfulness, David paused to reflect on particular people he admired. These were his “true heroes.” The Hebrew word here often is translated “nobles” or “the mighty.” Clearly, these people were different. They stood out from the crowd.

David was not fooled by the outward appearance of those who might appear to prosper. David realized he could trust in God, for the Lord was his inheritance and a cup of blessing. It was in this context that David commented about his “true heroes”—godly people in whom he took pleasure. These were people who provided examples for him, heroes in plain sight. He admired their service and appreciated it.

All of us need heroes in our lives—godly examples we can emulate. As we are chaplains serving chaplains, we can all seek to be a godly example to others. Our faith can shine in an authentic and transparent way. We can live in such a way to give God the glory, so that when we serve, others see sincere devotion in us and want to be like our God as the Hero we follow. Share with the heroes in plain sight that we serve and encourage appreciation to those in public safety who have been heroes in plain sight to you.

Russell Thompson, Chaplain

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[1] https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-police/2016/12/12/dallas-99-cops-quit-10-weeks-putting-police-hiring-spree-life-support

[2] http://fox59.com/2016/12/13/indiana-town-without-a-police-department-after-every-bunker-hill-officer-quits

[3] https://www.policeone.com/police-heroes

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