The Truth About Policing and Skid Row

29 09 2009

Society is replete with views of how law-making and policing should be carried out. Beneath pragmatic views of the outworking of the law in society, are views and assumptions.  Thanks Heather; see link at:…Heather MacDonald

We all have view and assumptions, about the nature of humanity, and the function of the law in the universe, and the way and place of grace, graciousness, mercy and compassion – as well as the possibilities of redemption and newness.

Some people take the view that certain sections of society, are victims, and have come to a place in life, virtually beyond redemption.

Some take the view that human beings in poverty, are primarily victims of the systems in society.  They speak of systemic sin.

Some people take the ultra-hopeful view that all sections of society have the possibility of redemption, always. Or almost always.

Some people take the legal view that there are laws, police, bad citizens and good citizens. Break the law, and thats it!  Obey the law, and you will be OK.

Jesus Christ knew what was in humanity – crowned with glory and honor, in creation, yet, now, with a heart—since the fall into sin—that is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt. The Scripture also speaks of ‘the mystery of lawlessness’.

One can live in this mystery, with hope, and take a helpful view of law, when the great dynamics of Man created, fallen, redeemed, and destined, are taken into account. Lawmakers, police and those who would like to transform (or engineer) society, need a full-orbed view of these dynamics. A truncated view will leave everyone in bitter tears. A grand view, will enable mercy and compassion to function within the good law of a hopeful society.

The question is, are we a truly hopeful society?

And with that, do we still have the framework needed to act wisely?

Having trained and served in the Police Force, when I first left school, I have always found it interesting to consider contrasting approaches to the function, and policing of the law within society.

Certainly lawlessness is a frightening prospect. Evil runs rampant, wherever it can.  Restraining evil, is a very gracious and kind thing to do. Not to mention – necessary.

I have listened to the proponents of providing legal injecting rooms for drug addicts in Sydney’s Kings Cross – demands for such, often coming from loud voices in my own national church body. I have never been convinced that this is really compassion, at all.

Compassion is a quality that both understands the human condition, and at the same time has a hopeful view, concerning the possibilities for help, and in particular real redemption.

May those who work amidst the poorest and darkest corners in street ministry, be strengthened to proclaim the Christ, who makes all things new.  Jesus, walks our streets, and feels  our pain, and His Spirit groans awaiting the hope filled future, that resurrection power will yet finally bring in all fulness. Even now, the future is breaking in upon us. Human beings are not hopeless, nor beyond redemption.

Good law in society, is surely an expression of love. It is never merely man-made regulation; it is the way of love, for our good benefit.

May the Lord help the local police, to do their job with gladness; may the police – who are never thanked quite enough, for the good things that they do – also know there is a day for the redemption of all things, so that they do not lose heart, and capitulate to mere cynicism, and then, retirement. Or worse.

May the Lord open our hearts to reconsider the glorious, honest, biblical view.

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