A Police Officer Learns Love and Forgiveness

A policeman shares how he learned to be forgiving and compassionate at work.

By Dale Michael, Florida

Categories: Forgiveness, Jesus' Commandment - To Love as He Loved, Loving and Forgiving

After working as an executive for World Book Encyclopedia for 22 years, and before becoming a psychotherapist, I became a Police Officer in my 50s. There are different kinds of policemen, and I wanted to be a good one. I got the reputation of being a compassionate policeman. But early on in my career, I had to learn a lesson. In the morning when I got dressed to go on duty -- when I started pulling on the uniform and strapping on the belt with the 357 magnum, flashlight, and all the paraphernalia -- I really felt very powerful. I felt that nothing could happen to me and that people would have to listen to me. I was mesmerized into thinking that that PR 24 (weapon stick), gun, and everything else with the position, gave me authority. It really was a false sense of power and security. Then I realized how arrogant and prideful that was.

Though I'm ashamed to mention the situation that woke me up from this false sense of security, I learned a lesson and grew spiritually. It began with a drunk driver racing into our district. We vectored around until we saw him cross a red light. He slowed down and drove into a tree. There were four people in his car. The third individual jumped on me. He was a young, emaciated man. I wrestled him to the ground and unfortunately hit his head on the ground. It was an accident. I was wrestling in self-defense. But I thought, "This is some mother's son." I had to take him to the hospital and watch him get stitched up. I recognized at the time that such force and vehemence went against everything I believed in. I never really had a serious fight after that.

When the thought came to me about the mother's son, I thought of my three sons when they were little children. As a result, I began to work with criminals differently. I was the only police officer who took criminals who were doped up to the hospital to be detoxed instead of to the county jail. I don't think I ever saw them on the street again. No one stopped me, which was quite remarkable, as it was against the rules. Not even my sergeant stopped me. Maybe they had some respect for what I was doing.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. (Matt. 7:12) and
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matt. 22:39)

I am very grateful for God's loving presence in my life which has shown me the strength in humility and love.