In March, Kirbyjon Caldwell, who leads one of the largest United Methodist congregations in the country, confessed his guilt in conning people in a multi-million-dollar investment scheme. This bad apple gives all clergy a black eye. But this sort of thing is not restricted to the ministry.
I know an attorney I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw, a doctor I wouldn’t let treat a hamster, and a contractor who overcharges clients for materials and uses them on other people’s projects.
Does this mean all clergy, attorneys, doctors, and contractors are bad people? Of course not. Most are absolutely wonderful people who follow the rules and do what is right.
As our country is consumed with protests over police brutality, it is important to remember, while there are a few bad apples, the vast majority of law enforcement personnel are in it for the right reason. They are here to serve and protect. We cannot allow the few who lack integrity and brutally mistreat others, to taint how we see these fine men and women who risk their lives keeping us safe.
Do we need to get rid of the bad apples and implement change? Certainly. But we cannot stigmatize and label all law enforcement officers as monsters because of the few who have abused, and in some cases, murdered others. We must be very careful to never judge all based on a few.
On Sunday and Wednesday nights, the police are on our church campus providing security. They are fun-loving, personable, and relational. I would trust them with anything I own. And the good thing about having the police officers around, is our young ones grow up seeing the police as friends instead of people to be feared.
What our country needs is wisdom to find the solution, the resolve to make long overdue changes, and the courage to root out those who should not carry a badge. It won’t be easy and I pray our leaders do not squander the opportunity that is on the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Ecclesiastes says: ” There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
This is the time to act.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, in a country filled with anger, give us peace. As we struggle with necessary changes, give us discernment. Help us treat one another with love and compassion. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
God will see us through these strange times. Our job is to be faithful and follow God’s lead.
On another note, if my math is correct, I have had the privilege of serving as your pastor for fourteen years and one day. That makes me the longest tenured pastor for our church. FUMC Temple -Thank you for your tolerance and love. I am blessed to be with you.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.