Would Jesus approve of police departments?
Jesus’ answer to Peter concerning forgiveness of his brother follows right after Jesus’ instructions concerning the procedure one should take when one is sinned against by a fellow brother in Christ (Matthew 18:15-20) It is important to note that Jesus’ answer specifically refers to brethren, not necessarily to people in the world. That is not to say that we as Christians should neglect this principle of forgiveness when dealing with worldly people. Obviously, the procedure described in Matthew 18:15-20 will not apply. However, forgiveness is always in order even when the offender does not ask for or even feel he needs it. We Christians need to model our master Jesus and have heart forgiveness even for those who have committed gross sins against us. Jesus always had forgiveness and love in his heart, even for those who were crucifying him.
Shortly before his crucifixion Jesus prayed to his Father regarding his disciples. In John 17:14-16 Jesus says, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is NOT that you take them out of the world but that you PROTECT them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” In this statement Jesus is very clear that even though we are not of the world, we still have to live in it in order to acquire lessons from the experience that will help to perfect our characters.
The good news is that we will have access to the holy spirit of God as a comforter and protector against the evil one. “But the Counselor, the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
After reviewing the above statements of Jesus, we conclude that police departments are needed today. Police officers defend the populace from criminals and are needed to maintain order in a world where Satan is still prince. Only a “few” people compared with the billions now living are “true” Christians.
If everyone were a true Christian, police departments would not be needed. Would Jesus approve of police departments in this world? Yes, we believe that he would, since without an agency that enforces the law anarchy would soon reign. We believe that in Christ’s future kingdom on earth police departments will not be needed.
“They will neither harm nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
Should there ever be an exception to the Bible’s instruction to work out problems between each other as opposed to going to court. Here again we accept the instruction given to us in Matthew 18, but note that this instruction applies to brethren, not to the world. When we have a legal problem in the world, we may indeed have to go to court, but when dealing with brethren we should precisely follow Matthew 18:16-17. “But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church: and if he refuses to listen to even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” We observe from this statement that if a brother is obstinate, he then should be treated as one in the world. Therefore, going to a legal count in the world would unfortunately be an option.