Restrain evil and shine the light

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-14 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Restrain evil and shine the light”
Our church is currently hosting the Cumberland Country Sheriff’s Department Citizens Academy. On Tuesday evenings members of our local law enforcement and justice agencies are educating the community about law enforcement policies and practices. It includes presentations about the use of force, self-defense tactics for citizens, investigations, traffic stops, SWAT tactics, active shooter scenarios, and much more.
The other night two comments were made that caught my attention, both of which reminded me of how fortunate we are to have good men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting the public. The first comment was made by a Lieutenant who is a narcotics investigator. He told us about the massive flow of drugs coming across our southern border, about the influence of Mexican cartels even here in Cumberland County, and about all the fentanyl being pumped into our communities from China through Mexico. The comment he made was that their work in narcotics can be frustrating and discouraging, because sometimes it seems like they aren’t making much progress dealing with the problem.
The other comment was made by an officer in the juvenile justice system. He talked about how his officers don’t treat the juvenile offenders as perpetrators but as children and teenagers who are struggling in life and who need positive role models and good encouragement. Their approach (in addition to enforcing the law) is to bond with the juvenile offenders, try to figure out what’s going on in their lives, and find ways to address the root causes of their criminal behavior. He told some heart-touching stories about juveniles whose lives were turned around simply because they encountered an officer who cared enough to get involved in their lives in a positive way.
Both of those stories reminded me of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:13-14 about being salt and light. Salt is a preservative that helps to prevent decay and rot. That’s what that narcotics officer is doing. He is acting as a restraining influence to hold back the spread of evil in our communities. It can be frustrating at times, but without him and others like him, there would be no restraint and things would be much worse. In a similar manner, Christians should be active in our world to help restrain the spread of evil in a wide variety of ways. Our presence in those situations should make a difference for good.
With respect to the comment from the officer from the juvenile justice system – light chases away darkness. That’s the influence that officer was describing. Instead of just arresting and incarcerating those young people, he and his team of officers treat them as troubled young human beings in need of help and enlightening. Likewise, that should also be the role of Christians in society as we interact with people lost in sin. Instead of just judging them and condemning their behavior, we should be helping them to experience the love of Jesus and to discover a better way to live.  
The presence of those officers and their colleagues in those situations is making a real difference for good. That should be true of the followers of Jesus was we encounter people in our daily situations as well. Work to restrain evil and to shine the light.  
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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