Who am I?” This is a question most of us wonder about at some point in life. Who we are — our identity — reveals our values, our personality.
These days, society is multigenerational, multiracial, multicultural. In this, America is a model for the world. Sure, lots of folks say they hate us — yet millions around the globe want to live here! Go figure!
Although we perhaps aren’t anointed as “the world’s cop,” the U.S. wields immense influence globally. We lead by example. People everywhere see Americans free to choose their own destiny. Our culture is built up by and based upon each of us as individuals.
In this light, my faith tradition teaches me that my identity is not just some selfish expression of what I want or what I think I’m entitled to. I’m not just a check mark in some demographic box. My personal values call me to be the “best version of myself” and to love my neighbor, to give respect and expect respect in return. I believe, even when expressed through small gestures of love, this benefits the world.
We’re living through a difficult season in law enforcement. Did you know, for example, that 93% of LEOs stress about the legal risk of doing their job? They worry about who will have their backs if an encounter goes south. Also, 75% of LEOs experience chronic health issues and 49% experience persistent negative thoughts. This is not an accident. In recent years, cops are simply and all too often presumed guilty.
The question then becomes: How can we find, in our identity, that which provides equanimity and peace? If we can do this, it not only helps us, but it also helps those we serve — plus our families, friends and colleagues.
Here’s what I think: Yes, the expectations for us have been raised unrealistically high, but, while it may seem impossible, we have a God who is the God of the impossible. We are made in His image and likeness, fearfully and wonderfully made, shaped even before being conceived in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). Some scientists conjecture that the chances of you simply being born are about one in 400 trillion! We’re designed by a wise and good creator. We’re called by God to do what we do.
The systems of hate and mistrust in this world — any harsh judgment of political correctness or mob opinion — does not need to dictate who we are or what we should be. If we can continue to have faith in our calling, we’ll be given the strength to accomplish great things.