Pharisee Policeman

I was getting ready to preach a “Blood Covenant” message in Marion when I had to field a series of calls. A new convert was being arrested. The timing for him couldn’t be worse. He was to start a new job the next morning. I actually was talking to the arresting policeman. It turns out that an arrest warrant had been issued over a driving without insurance from 2010.

Our young man is easily found in this small town; so the arrest could be made at any time. His reputation didn’t help him and the policeman did his best to paint the most despairing picture of our young man and felt it was his duty to arrest him for the good of the community. I explained the circumstances of our young man’s life as respectfully as I could, hoping to elicit some grace from the officer. He wasn’t caught in a crime and knowing that the issue was a bench warrant that could be solved with money I thought he might release him knowing that he had a job to start the next day.

This didn’t move the officer. I mentioned the young man’s new faith. Policemen and judges have heard this line of reasoning many times over only to be disappointed by the resulting life lived. That Christian hope, based on that Christian love, always wants to give out the benefit of the doubt in our society. The officer heard me out and seemed to have an understanding of the faith I was talking about. My hopes were rising. He then gave his concluding statement: If his faith can’t endure this it probably isn’t real.

He ended the conversation. We had just had a sermon workshop where several us had talked about our experiences of faith as new converts. Two, described the same feeling of being on a merry-go-round waiting to be thrown off. In my case I remember packing all my things, knowing I would be moving on, it was too good to be true. I went to one last church service only to hears words of hope and perseverance. I stayed but even after that remember describing my salvation as a fragile egg.

Today, my faith is the anchor of my soul and scripture and experience have been verified in my life over and over again. It is different when you start the spiritual journey of salvation fresh out of the world. It seems all new and it is all foreign to how you have navigated your way through life up until this point. The enemy will not easily release you from your past. That is what led me to give up; the devil had spoken into my life that my past would not let me pursue this new future. It seems that was happening to our young man. The difference, was I was encouraged to come to church; he would be spending the night in jail.

The next day I talked with Sparta’s police chief, always the perfect gentleman. He knew our young man and had compassion and understanding concerning the circumstances of life. He suggested calling after lunch to the prosecuting attorney and confirming that our young man had a job to go to and that might help him get released.

Before that moment came I got a call from our young man. He had been released. Paperwork snafu and grace from the judge. Went and picked him up. Too late for the job, they would call him, but seems like his faith has endured the trial. Maybe our policeman was right.


About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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