My duty is a callingCLF
To work as a police or correctional official is for some just another job, but for many it is more than just duty. It is a calling. Personally this is also my calling for the past 28 years. My calling is to serve and protect society.
It is a difficult and challenging duty to perform. We mostly work with the people who do not conform to the rules and values of society. Because of their negative deeds, they do not like us. Sometimes they will not hesitate to harm or kill us. Every day we have to live with the possibility that we might not see our family again. Our family members fear that one day someone will bring them the news that we have paid the highest price in serving society. Often our family has to make sacrifices because of our duty to serve.
Why do people, despite all the danger, still continue to be Police or Correctional Officers? Is it because we experience high unemployment and this is an available alternative? Just for the money? Or is it not also true that men and women feel it is calling to do this work.
They do it because someone has to do it and they are prepared to risk everything to do it.
They do it because they want to see a better, safer and just society, where there is peace and happiness.
They feel proud when they put on their uniforms, because they know they can make a difference in someone’s life and to society.
They feel good when they have helped someone. They feel good when a case is solved. They feel good when an inmate leaves a Correctional facility with a new purpose in life.
Behind this calling is the conviction that God has called you to this work and therefor it is a ministry. It is service in the Kingdom of God. It is to glorify his Name by helping and protecting other people, often the most vulnerable ones.
God will be with us in this calling
God who calls us, is also the One that will be with us and protect and keep us.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4)
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust” … He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (please read the whole of Psalm 91)
He helps us to have compassion with the victims of crime and the families of offenders. He helps us to still see in the perpetrator the image of God.
He gives us the value to seek justice.
Through Him we live with integrity and refuse to be part of corruption. God is a God that hates injustice. There is no corruption in God. We know that a few fellow officers, due to their corruption give us all a bad name in society. Let us remind one another what is written. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
How to persevere
Our work environment does not leave us unaffected. The violence, trauma, cruelty, death and gangsterism are some of the things that we are exposed to on a daily basis. It affects the way we look at people in general. It affects our health. It can cause post-traumatic stress.
How can we keep on doing our duty?
Dedicated Police and Correctional Officers will tell you the following:
- Never see your work as just another job – see it as a calling from God.
- Never try and do it on your own. Do it with the help of God. Pray regularly to God to be with you.
- Make sure you live in a relationship with God. Be disciplined in exercising your fellowship with God and with fellow believers.
- Use the opportunities in you church to strengthen your faith.
- Make sure you have the right friends.
- Ensure that you have a good family life. Spend as much as possible quality time with them.
- Live a healthy life with enough exercise and rest and nice things to do to help you relax.
- Be careful not to eat or drink too much – alcohol cannot really help you to escape the stress; it will rather create more stress.
- Acknowledge to yourself that your working environment of violence can influence your life and that you need to look after your own wellbeing.
- Ask for help when you feel down and when the stress at work starts to influence you and your family life. Talk to trusted people that will be able to really listen.
Thank you for making a difference in South Africa.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Dr Dawid Kuyler