The main idea of this post comes from a sermon/booklet written by a Nineteenth Century Pastor named Thomas Chalmers, called The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. The thrust of this text/sermon is that people cannot, “pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps” to become better people, or to rid themselves of sinful habits, behaviors, or patterns. Instead, Chalmers contended, people must find a “new affection,” to replace the other things that were driving their behaviors. Jesus seems to be indicating this principle in one of his parables.
“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.” Luke 11:24-25
In the parable, Jesus is specifically talking about a demon leaving a person. However, He makes the point that the person has not filled the void left by the vacationing demon. So, in the end, the demon brings seven spirits even more evil to fill the void. I believe this to be a universal truth. That is, I believe this to be true in the spiritual realm, in the physical realm, emotionally, politically, etc. For example, if I want to lose weight, I can’t effectively lose weight and keep it off without developing a stronger affection for something more so than I love to eat. Just taking away foods may work in the short-term, but without a motivating innate, passion for something else, I am doomed to failure. Natural really does hate a vacuum. Something always rushes in to replace whatever has been pushed out.
So, what is my point? Currently there is a lot of protesting and a fair amount of what has come to be known as “Cancel Culture.” Nearly everyone agrees on doing away with police brutality and is rightly pushing for reform to protect citizens against such horrific behavior. I’d be willing to bet that most police officers would be in full support of reform that protects the public and those entrusted to serve as peace officers in our communities. My concern is about the vacuum that will be formed if many, well-meaning people push out good policing along with reforming the bad. Something or someone will fill that void.
In order for true reform and change to take place, we have to have a stronger “affection” for the change. This means that there must be an alternative solution to the need that we are in favor of…not just passionate disapproval of what has happened. Anger alone without something better to fill the vacuum will only bring further harm to the people of our communities. Pointing out the bad is a part of reform to be sure. But, true reform has to be rooted in a better solution.
Today, most of the country realizes we need to do something to ensure that what happened to George Floyd never happens to another person ever again. Some have suggested doing away with the police force. To me, this makes no sense as I know that there will still be a need for someone to protect the most vulnerable among us who can’t protect themselves. Without trained men and women in those roles we would find ourselves in more of a “wild west” scenario where every man or woman is out for themselves. So, what can be done? I’d love to hear input on what can be done to ensure that the police officers in our communities don’t cross the line into brutality when dealing with suspects or others. I think it starts with the hiring process and better vetting of candidates. Possibly developing other non-lethal means for apprehending suspects? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.