We are living in a very tense moment spiritually. If we who represent Jesus Christ on Earth are not careful, we could make an undisciplined emotional response to these complex situations and bring unnecessary death to relationships and ministry opportunities.
One day when I was a street cop, I got a call of a family disturbance. On that call, I came very close to having to shoot a father in front of his family. Dispatch let us know it was a family disturbance with no mention of weapons. These calls are some of the most dangerous ones a cop can encounter. Years of people living in a broken relationship can overflow into violent acts in a split second.
When I knocked on the front door a distressed woman, the wife of the abuser, opened the door. As soon as she opened the door, she stepped back into the room with her two-year-old child in hand. When her husband stepped forward I saw he was holding a handgun at his side pointing the muzzle to the floor. My partner and I drew our weapons and told him to drop the gun.
In these tense moments, anything can happen. The family was filled with emotion and had been releasing their pent-up pain before our arrival. Their lives were falling apart. The next few seconds would determine if a tragedy could be averted. I was capable of ending the threat if it came to that, but I hoped it could be resolved peacefully.
Two choices were being made that day. One would be for the man to drop his weapon and not die violently in front of his wife and child. The other choice, and in some ways, the more important one was how I would venture forth into this heated situation and try to find a peaceful resolution.
I used my negotiating skills and after a few very tense minutes, the man finally placed his weapon on the living room floor. We cuffed him and arrested him on a domestic violence charge. He lived to see another day, and I went back into service in route to the next call as an adrenalin dump made its way through my body.
Our world is living with ever-increasing levels of hostility. It’s in the streets and on the news. Versions of emotional road rage are being scripted daily between combatants on social media. The Church is literally standing in the doorway of culture looking into situations that have been brewing for years ready to explode creating the potential for senseless and sorrowful outcomes.
The voice we use to address these angry dysfunctions is important. That day on the porch, if I had pushed this angry and emotionally distraught man in any way, a tragedy would have taken place. Watch the content and context of the words you use when you encounter the next heated exchange of opinion. Your choice to take the high road might actually be what causes the other person to drop their weapon of rage and listen to the truth you are attempting to speak in love.