Law Enforcement: Meeting the Needs of Our Local Communities
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Adam Davis, former police officer and author of the book Behind the Badge, shares how he feels the weight of responsibility to God, as a law enforcement officer.
Law Enforcement: Meeting the Needs of Our Local Communities
Bob: After years in law enforcement, Adam Davis’s own marriage was on the brink. It took a wakeup call for God to heal his relationship with his wife. Today, he’s challenging husbands to keep their priorities straight.
Adam: Whenever I talk to a brother, who is in law enforcement, or just a man struggling with his marriage/his relationship with Christ, one of the first things I tell him is: “Face it. It’s already been paid for; let’s move on. Now, here is what you are going to do, going forward. Stop making excuses; get a routine of discipline; take some self-control, and give it to God. Go and do the things that you’re supposed to do every single day.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, October 8th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I’m Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can make a decision whether you are going to fight in your marriage or fight for your marriage. Adam Davis is here to talk with us about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Have you ever done a ride along, where you’re in the backseat of a police cruiser?
Dave: I’ve been in the backseat—
Bob: Oh! [Laughter]
Dave: —but not in a ride along.
Ann: Wait; wait; wait. What?!
Dave: What do you mean, “What?!”
Ann: When was this?
Dave: Oh, this was before we were married; but I spent a night—
Bob: Did you?
Dave: You didn’t know that?!
Bob: I did not know this.
Dave: I think we put it in one of our books.
Bob: Well, your wife is looking like, “I don’t remember this!”
Ann: I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
Dave: She didn’t read that chapter.
Bob: You spent a night in jail.
Dave: Well, I was going to spend the night. My mom came, and—
Ann: Wait; wait. Get back to what happened.
Dave: You don’t want to know. No; I mean, honestly, it was simply a 1970s craziness on a Friday night with my buddies—I-75—
Ann: —before you were a believer.
Dave: —before I was a believer.
Bob: You’re 18/19 years old?
Dave: I think I was 17—probably a junior in high school—drinking. We decided to moon the car beside us. I think I did; and you know, did the old moon shot. Next thing you know, the police [siren sound] are after us. We avoid; I mean, we turned into this town and start racing through it—a little, tiny town—and ended up in a car wash, thinking, “Oh, they’ll never find us.” They pull right up—car in front; car in back—get out, and they take us all to jail.
They, basically, said, “You’re spending the night.” Not only did we moon somebody, which—I hate to say this on radio, as your FamilyLife® radio host, but then avoiding our arrest—[Laughter]—I don’t know. Anyway, they allowed our parents to come. I had a single mom; she came. They let her take me home at 2/3 a.m. I didn’t end up spending the night; but man, did I get reamed out by my mom.
Here is the good news—I’ve never mooned anybody since. [Laughter] Yes; that was my one night—
Bob: —in the back of a police car.
Dave: —in the back of a police car; yes.
Bob: We have a police officer, Adam Davis, joining us on FamilyLife Today.
Bob: Former officer—but Adam, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Adam: Thank you so much, Bob.
Bob: I referred to you as officer because, if you had been behind a group of teenage boys, monkeying around like this—
Adam: Now, I’ll tell you—I never saw that happen. [Laughter]
Bob: Adam worked for six years in law enforcement and, since then, has been a writer/a conference speaker. He has written books aimed at the guys in the profession that you were a part of. You have a heart for reaching police officers/police officers’ families; because you know that these are guys, who are not just on the frontline in terms of what they are experiencing in the culture, but they are in a spiritual battle field too.
Adam: Oh, mercy! This—everything that you see occurring in our physical world is a result of what’s going on in the spirit world. There is a battle for your soul. You know the Word says, “The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.” We have laws against that in the natural; well, there is a law against that in the spirit. Jesus came to fulfill that law; He completely defeated him.
What I’ve come to learn, through my interrogation of God, which humbled me—
Dave: Tell that—stop right there—I mean, you mentioned it earlier. You interrogated God. Take us into that a little bit. I mean what was it like, interrogating a—
Adam: Well, He never lied. [Laughter] Have you ever had a question that, maybe, just you’d be frowned on if you asked in church?
Adam: “Why do these things happen?” I’m not going to list them, because everybody’s got their own thing. For me, interrogating Him—I realized why cops are needed; because somewhere today a little girl or a little boy has been abused. They are hunkered down in a closet somewhere, and they are crying. They are afraid; they are hurt. They don’t know what love feels like from a parent; and they are asking God to send somebody to them: “Send me an angel. Help me get out of this.”
The angel will come, and he is in the form—in a man or a woman—wearing a blue uniform, most of the time, with a badge; and he is going to come and take that baby away from there and put them in a home, where somebody will love them. It’s our job, as the body of Christ, to equip those men and women with the love of Jesus, with His Word, and make sure we take care of them as part of the body. If we don’t, we will be held accountable for that, because they are stewards of peace and law and order. We have to take care of our public servants.
For the little girl or the little boy, or the abused wife who maybe crying for an angel today, we have to invest in cops; because who better to send into broken situations than men and women, who’ve been changed by the love of the living God?—that’s my passion. When you talk about reaching cops for Him, that’s why; because it’s not just cops we’re touching. We’re dispatching them into every community across the nation, and it can create a sweeping move of God’s presence and change across a country that’s dying.
It starts/I fully believe it can start within cops and within their marriages. We could see a change in our country. It may not look like we’ve seen in the past, where churches are filled; but it could be where homes are filled with the love of God, and abuse has been remedied, and justice has been served for people who have created violent crimes.
I think that’s one of the reasons why you see some of the things going on today—is because we are on the brink of one of the biggest moves of God in American history. It starts within the life of a cop.
Bob: I’m thinking, in most police departments, there are maybe a handful of people, who are actually trying to live out their faith—
Adam: It’s hard.
Bob: —in uniform. I’m also thinking that their fellow officers might kind of look on them as—
Bob: —yes; soft. Is that the case?
Adam: Yes; that’s how I felt. I felt like, if I listen to some southern gospel music on the radio in my patrol car, when the guy got in, who just beat somebody with a brick, that he is going to see me as soft—
Adam: —you know? Or that I’m going to say, “They are having a bad day. Show them mercy, and let them go,”—no. That’s the thing—I developed this theory, through my own experience, that faith doesn’t make you weak. It makes you unbeatable; because with Him, you are never defeated. You may face battles—so I adopted the phrase, “Semper invictus,”—which means “Always undefeated.” It just sounds really cool—[Laughter]—I could just say, “Always undefeated.” That’s/faith doesn’t make you weak; it makes you unbeatable as long as your faith is in the right place.
Dave: Yes; I know that, Bob, as you asked that question—and again, I don’t make comparisons—but it does seem similar, in some ways, to the NFL or to be a pro-athlete or an athlete. In the locker rooms, there was this same mentality. You give your life to Christ—even head coaches would say—“Oh, I just lost a great player. He’s going to be soft. He’s going to hit somebody on the field and say, ‘Hey, are you okay?’” [Laughter]
I remember, often, trying to help—even head coaches, who sort of looked at me as a chaplain—like, “I don’t know if I want my players spending a lot of time with you, because you’re going to make them soft.” One of my jobs was like, “Let me tell you what an athlete should be like if he’s a follower of Christ on the field.” I always called it the three I’s:
He should be the most intense player, not just game day, but in practice; because he’s like, “This matters. I’m not playing for head coach anymore or an owner; I’m playing for the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me.” So every time I’m looking at film, every time I’m taking a practice rep, I am a hundred percent in. I’m there early; I’m there late. Every head coach should go, “I want everybody in my locker room to be like that guy.” The Christian should model what it looks like. That’s the first “I.”
The second one is integrity—that they should be the people you can take them at their word. Why?—because they honor somebody bigger than the head coach. It’s like, “I’m playing for”—so: “If I give him my word, it’s going to be my bond.”
Dave: You’re going to be a man I can trust.
Third was intentionality. Intentionality is like, “I’m playing for something more than just winning a game. I want people to see Christ, so I’m intentional about how I work and then even how I handle an interview afterwards.”
I’m thinking that’s exactly the same thing in the police department.
Adam: Has to be.
Ann: —and in the military.
Adam: I think that it is our responsibility. We have to look back and take responsibility, as the church/as people. Whenever I talk to a brother, who is in law enforcement, or just a man struggling with his marriage/his relationship with Christ, one of the first things I tell them is: “Look at what you’ve done. Face it. Now, it’s already been paid for; let’s move on. Now, here is what you are going to do, going forward. Stop making excuses; get a routine of discipline; take some self-control, and give it to God. Go and do the things that you’re supposed to do every single day. Stop telling me what’s wrong if you’re not going to bring something to the table on what you’re going to do to fix it.”
It’s time for the church to rise. It’s time for men of God to rise up—men who are armed with His Word, who know how to pray, who are willing to take a stand—the nation needs you now. It needs every one of us now.
Bob: Did your fellow officers think that you had softened when you came to faith?
Adam: You know, there were some that did; yes; absolutely. Some thought—
Bob: Did they harass you? Did they—
Adam: Oh, of course! Yes; but that’s part of it.
Bob: I mean, what did that sound like?
Adam: I can’t say it on Christian radio, Bob. [Laughter] No; but it was—but that’s part of it to an extent—and you just have to be willing. I wasn’t perfect; and I think that that’s what we have to get to the point is: “I’m not perfect; I’m going to mess up. I’m going to fall at some point—something—I’m going to mess up. Don’t put that on me. There was only One perfect, and He’s my best friend. I’m trying”; but I’ve caught a lot of flak.
I’ve caught a lot of questions from people, who said, “Well, why did you leave law enforcement after only six years? Why didn’t you retire?” Frankly, there are only
24 hours in a day, and there is only so much I could do. What the vision I had, where I was at—and it was a matter of calculated risk and massive faith—I’m going to tell you. I didn’t know what was in front of me except for one step, and then I took that step in obedience/in faith. God has honored every step of the way. That’s how I got to Little Rock, Arkansas, today. [Laughter] It’s one step of faith at a time, and I knew that it wouldn’t be popular; but I would rather be known as faithful over famous.
Adam: I want to honor Him. It’s all about Him; He’s the hero of my story, not me. He is the number-one hero.
Dave: Did you ever find guys in the department, or guys you worked with, that previously mocked you/made fun of you?—I mean, I saw it in the locker room—like, “Dude, you don’t drink anymore. You don’t go to the strip clubs anymore. What happened to you? You’re going home to your wife—you loser!”
Dave: Six months/nine months later, that guy is going through something; and guess where he goes?
Adam: “Buddy,” they call me to this point. It may not have always been the ones that I worked with—
Adam: —but I have had people that I worked with come to me—and it’s taken time. I’ve had them drop by my house and say: “Hey, do you have a book?” or “Do you want to talk?” or “ I’ve got a question.” They call me in tears. I talk to cops, across the country, that are in different stages of life with their marriage, or they are dealing with stuff, and they don’t know how to. I’m not a counselor; I’m not a doctor. I’m just a brother, who has been where you’ve been in many cases.
Understanding how to navigate through that, and still keep yourself intact and not lose your faith—not that it’s something you have in a bag that can be lost—but understanding that, no matter what happens today or tomorrow, that He is still God, and that He is always good no matter the circumstances—and it is our responsibility to walk out and be the hands and feet of Christ in this world and to, literally, be the salt and the light. When we can go into these dark places like that, we’re fulfilling what He’s called us to do.
Bob: Were there character issues that had to get worked out/things that you might have done differently before you came to Christ?
Adam: No; never did anything like that on the job—ever. I had things I had to deal with within my marriage; but we dealt with that—me and my wife and God and got some help.
Ann: Talk about that a little bit, too, for wives.
Ann: Do we use tough love? What are the things that would be helpful?
Adam: For me, it’s giving me a safe place to address hard things. I don’t need somebody else to tell me what I’ve done wrong, or to criticize what I’ve already done, or to question everything/every decision I had to make in a microsecond that most people couldn’t make in a lifetime. I want it to be a place to where she literally holds me in her arms and says, “There’s nothing that you can say that’s off-limits to me. I’m your safe place.” So if I’ve got to rant, she’s like, “Okay”; and she can toss it; she can discard it; she can handle it. But it’s not always sitting down, and saying, “How was your day?” “Fine,” “Great,”—move on. That’s boring; nobody wants a marriage like that.
Having a man that’s willing to stand up and say: “Man, your hair looks great!” [Laughter] or “Hey, don’t worry about dishes; I’ve got this”—just taking initiative or having the conversation—it doesn’t always have to be “Let’s sit down at the table, with the kids put away in bed; and we’re going to sit here and stare at each other and talk about things.” Man, make it interesting; it’s a life. We were created to thrive; He came to give us life. Sometimes, it’s been twisted out of context—and more abundantly—that’s not always financial stuff; I don’t think it means that at all.
He created us to thrive because, when we thrive in Him, we crush the enemy in this world. We’re the only hope for this world when we walk in the purpose He’s created us to walk in. There’s a world that needs men and women, who are willing to have those conversations in the home, because there is a whole other generation coming behind; that if we don’t show them how to do it, how are they going to know how to do it?
Dave: And I think, Adam, what you said—it’s a great word—“safe place.” If a spouse feels like his wife or her husband is a safe place, where I can be me and be affirmed and understood, then they are going to open up; but if it isn’t—like you said if it’s critique—they are going to shut down. I think that’s what a man longs for—and I’m guessing that a wife does, too—it’s like, “Wow; I would run to that!
Dave: “Gee whiz; this is a place where I feel affirmed. I feel heard,”—whether it’s
15 minutes on the couch, or 10 minutes before we go to bed, or whatever—it’s just, daily, a rhythm that “There is a place in my life that I’m understood and I’m affirmed.
Adam: So needed.
Dave: “I’m running there.”
Ann: I would add one more tip, because I did this very poorly for so many years in our relationship/in our marriage. Dave would come home, and I had all these expectations. Then when he didn’t meet the expectations, I was critical; I was grumpy. I don’t think it was a great safe place to come home to.
I would remind women, too, that a lot of men will bond, shoulder to shoulder. Even, I think I got boring—we stopped playing; we stopped laughing; we stopped doing fun things—because life is demanding: we have kids/we have stress.
I remember Dave and I went out, not too long ago. He said, “I’m going to go play golf.” I’m not a golfer, but I just went to ride along in the cart. I remember he’s getting ready to swing the club; and I just said, “Wow; you look good!” [Laughter] He’s laughing; but you know, it’s just a little sentence—that’s it. It’s amazing how just laughing together, admiring your spouse, and going somewhere—where, I think the table, at first, can feel intimidating; you feel like you’re going to be interrogated.
Adam: Yes; like you are sitting down with a principal or something.
Ann: Exactly! But if you’re having fun, and you’re complimenting, and you’re telling your spouse the good things that they’ve done, that opens the door to create great conversation.
Dave: I’ll add one last thing. If you and your spouse decided: “For the next 90 days, we’re going into a training program to make our marriage better.” We do it all the time with our bodies/with our diets—
Ann: —working out.
Dave: —30 days/60/90 days. You pick up Bulletproof Marriage, which I did. I thought, “Well, I might relate to it,”— because it’s not really written to/I’m not a police officer—it relates to anybody, not just police officers.
You start reading it; you’re like, “Oh my goodness! If my wife and I did this for 90 days,”—I’m guessing there is a guarantee on the end of that 90 days: “Your marriage is going to be in a different place than it was on day 1.”
Adam: You’re going to communicate better.
Ann: Great questions.
Adam: You’re going to communicate better if you go through it and do the work every day for 90 days.
Bob: Well, if most wives came to their husband and said, “Let’s do a devotional together,” the husband’s like, “I don’t want to do that.” Bring them Bulletproof Marriage, and they are like, “Okay; I’ll look at this one.” Each day takes—I don’t know—five minutes/ten minutes to go through this?
Adam: Yes; absolutely.
Bob: What a great investment, written by a guy who understands what it’s like on the frontlines of life and of marriage. I just think a guy would go, “I’m open to this. Bulletproof Marriage sounds like the kind of devotional I could go through.”
Adam: I’ll tell guys this—you may/and I hope you do—you may have a great marriage right now; but every once in a while, they start to get a little boring if you’re not careful.
Bob: —a little stale.
Adam: —a little stale. If you want to immediately put some of that pre-lit/pre-soaked charcoal on your marriage, and throw a match on it, go home to your wife and say, “Babe, let’s do Bulletproof Marriage for 90 days.”
Bob: “Let’s do a devotional together.”
Adam: “Let’s do a devotional together.”
Dave: She might just give you the look—just might! [Laughter]
Adam: “Oh, it’s on.” [Laughter] I can’t guarantee a lot of things, but things are going to go—or she’s going to say, “What’s wrong?” [Laughter]
Bob: Adam, I want to let listeners know how they can get Bulletproof Marriage. Before I do that, a lot of our listeners will be in a restaurant today or a coffee shop/some place—they are going to see a couple of people in uniform/men and women—and they are probably going to be the folks, who will go up to them and say, “Thank you for your service.”
I’m sure that’s meaningful, at some level, to an officer. Is there something else we could say/something better we could say? How can we honor those who are serving us?
Adam: “Thank you,” goes a long way; but in a world that screams, “I hate you,” so loudly, I think we have to turn love up a notch. Whether you give them a copy of Behind the Badge or Bulletproof Marriage, or if you’re in a restaurant and you buy their meal, or if you leave a note at the counter—if you don’t want to approach him/if you don’t feel comfortable approaching them—you can buy their meal; leave them a note; write a Scripture out; give them something that is meaningful.
“Thank you,” is meaningful—I’m not devaluing that—I’m just saying, in a world where hate is being turned up at a level like it’s never been turned up to before, I think we’ve got to turn ours up a little bit louder. Let them know that we love them, and support them, and we’re praying for them.
Bob: Good word. Adam, thank you; thanks for being here.
Adam: Thank you so much for having me.
Bob: And thanks for these resources that we can give as a gift to people we know who are involved in law enforcement. I’m just thinking about showing up at a local precinct or at the police station with a box of these books and saying, “I brought these down to give as a gift to any officer who might need it.” A church could do that; you could do that as an individual.
Adam has written a marriage devotional/a 90-day devotional for marriages called Bulletproof Marriage. He’s got a 365-day devotional for officers called Behind the Badge and then a book called On Spiritual Combat: 30 Missions for Victorious Warfare. Again, you can see all that Adam has written when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Order any of these books from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get a copy of any of Adam’s books. Again, the three titles: Bulletproof Marriage, Behind the Badge, and On Spiritual Combat. Find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call to order: 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
We’ve talked about how people in law enforcement are in high-risk situations when it comes to marriage; but you stop and think about it—in this culture/in this year; all that’s been going on—there are a lot of marriages that have been pushed to the edge. There are people in your church, people in your community, people you know—you may not know the strain they are under in their marriage; you may not recognize the conflict that’s going on—but I guarantee you there is more happening than you realize.
Here, at FamilyLife®, our goal is to provide a lifeline to be able to help pull people out of the ditch they may be in and get their marriage/get their family pointed in the right direction/headed down the road again. Our goal is to effectively develop godly marriages and families. We do it through this radio program, our podcasts, our website, the events that we’re able to hold when we’re able to hold events.
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We hope you can join us, again, tomorrow when we’re going to talk about some of the people in the Bible whose reputations are not all that great. Nancy Guthrie is going to join us; and we’re going to talk, not just about the saints, but some of the scoundrels we read about in both the Old and New Testament. I hope you can tune in for that conversation.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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