No Badge Gives You Influence to Influence: It’s in the Salt
I recall my lieutenant explaining the difference between power and authority. We assume we possess power to stop traffic, but it’s only because drivers submit to our authority. Once our ability to manage authority erodes, so goes our power.
It’s the same with influence. That badge may open doors on and off the job, but does it play a supporting role to who you are as a person of influence or have you become a shell who simply wears an influential badge?
Influence is defined as: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
I want to challenge you to think of your influence on a deeper level. God uses the words salt and light to describe who we are as believers. We as society’s keepers, whether you share a faith in Christ or not, have an opportunity to be salt and light to a dark and decaying world.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Honestly, have you ever considered yourself as a preservative? This is the most useful purpose served by salt at the time and it remains a valuable resource today.
Guess what, so are you.
We’re adults here, and if you’ve spent one hour hopping radio calls, you’ve seen the darkness in what people do to each other. In large pockets, our society is decaying. The moral, ethical and legal corruptions are killing what once was one nation under God.
You, as you stand with brothers and sisters along the Thin Blue Line, hold the influence to stop the decay, and preserve not only the peace, but hope in the decency of humanity.
Look, not every mayor, council, chief or city will support you. There are so many efforts to strip the purpose of policing from its intended function as the state’s arm of enforcement, that it’s easy to want to surrender and ride time.
Who would’ve imagined fringe groups like Black Lives Matter would actually dictate police policy, but the reality is this and other efforts come and go. You must remain society’s salt. Otherwise, it begins to decay immediately.
But to be useful salt, you must be of good influence. Your badge isn’t what makes the difference in people’s lives. If that was the case, we’d email them a picture of the shield after they reached out with a problem. No, it’s the salt—you.
Taste so Good
Salt also makes food taste better. You have that same influence in people’s lives. Ever make a call in a situation that people just can’t swallow, or maybe it’s happened to you in the way of a bad assignment, rank or off-duty detail assignment.
Instead of just accepting that it is what it is, use your influence to make the situation palatable. It doesn’t mean winning everyone over or getting your way, but it does mean being good salt that seals relationships for future use.
Notice in the Scripture shared from Matthew 5:13 that God says salt must maintain it’s saltiness, and if it’s no longer good for anything, then it’s to be tossed out and trampled underfoot.
Do we know any co-workers like this?
Their zeal for serving the public has turned into a zest for serving themselves. The Bible shares what becomes of those who remain in positions of influence, yet have allowed themselves to lose their influence for good.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
How about those who have packed it in and are ready to ride it out until retirement, yet they’ve just made their fifth year on the job? Or worse yet, those who no longer care. They don’t care about the public, they don’t care about you and they sure don’t care about themselves.
Bringing Salty Back
Have you begun to lose your saltiness? It’s never too late to get your salt back. Here’s a few ideas how:
Pursue your faith . . .
- Make sure your spouse and family are a top priority.
- Get your finances under control.
- Reclaim your health.
- Request a station change or new assignment.
- Renew your oath to public service.
- If you know you’ve lost your taste for police work, find another job.
Light It Up
Since you’re already used to double duty, you’ll be glad to know that in addition to being the salt of the world, you are also called to be the light. The first part of Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Even those who despise you, look to you. Whether they look up or down at you is up to you. Again, you have the influence to influence. How you exercise that influence is up to you.
Salt is an interior, covert influence, that while others may not understand the effect, it’s persevering nature preserves for future use. Light is an immediate, overt effect that people see before they hear. How you present yourself in public, even to those you don’t encounter, shows your light. It’s up to you to ensure that light shines bright in a world struggling with darkness.
Day Shift Motto Only?
This verse in First Thessalonians could possibly be for everyone suffering through the day shift, but God meant for it to bless us aptly across the board. The truth is, we are children of the light. We’re often the only hope someone has, and while we look forward to going home, they may have nothing to return to.
“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5
God’s truth is eternal. To be salt and light to the world is an incredible blessing and responsibility. It doesn’t come from wearing a badge. It comes from committing to serve a public who may not like you or respect you. A public who hates you or wants to kill you. A public that cares nothing for the taste of your salt or the glimmer of your light. A public that despite themselves will be preserved because your call to duty has sealed them from a fate of much more hope than darkness and decay.
You are their salt.