The Paper Trail Education,Front Page,Government and Politics,Opinion/Editorial,Religion Getting Past the Past: Police Shootings Are a Moral Issue

Getting Past the Past: Police Shootings Are a Moral Issue

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Stealing cookies

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    A child sneaks a cookie from a cookie jar.  A teenager slips out of the house to attend a party.  A worker fudges on his time card.  A driver texts while in a school zone.  A hometown football star uses steroids.  A man cheats on his spouse while out of town.  A government official uses her office to get contracts for her husband’s company.  School teachers conspire to change test scores. An employee absconds with the company birthday-party fund.   A 12-year-old boy steals guns from a pawn shop that will help others kill police officers.  A presidential candidate lies to the FBI.  When people consciously make immoral or unethical choices, it creates imbalance in the society in which they live, and the other members of that society are forced to deal with the behavior in some manner.  Most rational people understand that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

    On Fox’s “The Kelly File” last week,  Jessica Disu, a Chicago Black Lives Matter activist and proponent of transformative justice, said that American police forces should be abolished.  “Here are the solutions. We need to abolish the police, period. Demilitarize the police, disarm the police, and we need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice,” said Disu.   Abolishing the police will most assuredly stop the killing of cops since there won’t be any to target, but will that solve the real problem, the problem of immorality?

     Combating immorality does indeed require teaching and guidance so that all humans can become perfect just as we are called to be in Matthew 5:48:  “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  E. Stanley Jones, a 20th-century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian, suggests in his book The Christ of the Mount: A Working Philosophy of Life that we think of the “perfect” life as a “complete” life.  In so doing, it seems more attainable. Those who consciously work toward inner perfection choose to do what is right, which means they are choosing a good life, a heaven on earth, regardless of past experiences, historical events, or physiological circumstances.  People of all kinds choose immoral behavior; they create their own hell every day, which unfortunately bleeds all over the rest of us.  It is as simple as that. When groups of people join others in creating hell, chaos rules.  In order to bring order out of chaos, God’s laws must reign supreme, especially the law that commands:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12).

     Do kids who are taught this law and understand the difference between right from wrong perform immoral or unethical acts?  Sometimes they do.  Because all humans have free will,  no one is exempt, not even a priest or a preacher’s kid.  Do kids who grow up in households where God’s laws are not taught turn out to be good people making moral decisions?  Of course, they do.   Those who choose to have complete lives come from all backgrounds.  God’s grace is for everyone; it is the great equalizer.

     So, if a child steals a cookie and is not reprimanded for doing so, he may get the idea that taking what he wants when he wants is acceptable.  If the adults in his life laugh about the minor infraction in front of the child and lead him to believe that his behavior is funny or cute, it then becomes a way to get everyone’s attention.  Soon, this “cute” behavior left unchecked creates a demanding child no one can stand or a spoiled child who who steals a gun – or worse – uses one to kill a cop or a neighbor or a schoolmate to get what he wants.  Jumping from stealing cookies to stealing guns may seem like a giant leap, but failure to teach a child right from wrong in the early years sets him on a path to self-destruction, a path that is guaranteed to be filled with misery for everyone involved – not just the child.

     People must get past the past and make a personal commitment to living a perfect life by following God’s laws because no law of man will ever fix the real problem of a fallen world.  For now, we must pray for protection of those who are in harm’s way.  We must pray that those who wish to do them harm will surrender to God and seek His ways instead of the ways of a vengeful people.  Finally, we must thank God for the people in our midst who are called to defend us against the forces of evil.  They are brave men and women who show up to work each day understanding that they may not return to their families that night, but they show up anyway.  God bless them!