It’s time for police officers to take a stand. We are tired of this job destroying our personal lives, our families, our livelihood, and our marriages. We are tired of turning to alcohol and prescription drugs. We are tired of the abuse of society and the toll it takes on our hearts. We are tired of the self-destruction we see so many of our brothers and sisters fall into as a result of the despair they face. We are constantly reminded of the risk of serving behind the badge as we are bombarded by Facebook posts informing of those officers who have fallen. Our hearts weigh even more heavily when we hear about another officer who has ended their life at their own hand.
Yes, my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, it is TIME for us to take a stand! We must continue to fight the good fight. One of my favorite bible verses says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, ESV) Therein lies the key, my brothers and sisters, “IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP.” And while this sounds motivational, patriotic and inspiring, so many officers continue to give up every day.
We give up when we allow cynicism to rule over our hearts. We give up when we turn to alcohol or other substances to medicate the darkness which looms over and within us. We give up when we allow our families to break apart and suffer as a result of the bitterness within us. Some have given up on life itself as a result of the pain in their hearts.
If we are to continue to fight and never give up, we cannot continue to fight this fight alone. For so many years, I faced the darkness alone. I turned to alcohol as my soul darkened and my heart turned to granite. The abuse of alcohol became a part of my life, along with anger, harsh words, mistreatment of those whom I love, and feelings of despair and worthlessness. I became a police officer because I wanted to help people—I wanted to serve, to protect. I had wanted to make a difference and I wanted to be a defender of the sheep. Over time, the darkness of the job chipped away at the light within me.
My marriage was on the verge of collapse, and my five year old daughter was confused, hurt, and full of sorrow. My family didn’t understand why the husband and father they loved was so full of hatred and vile bitterness. I traveled further and further into the darkness, and I too almost gave up on life itself.
For this sheepdog, I had to return to the Good Shepherd for strength. A strong core faith in God is what saved me from the darkness. Upon turning to Him, my life began to have meaning again as He restored and redeemed my soul. My heart softened and my spirit was lifted. My family was restored, and all of the anger, bitterness, darkness, and despair was washed away. The canyon sized hole in my heart was filled with the light of Jesus Christ.
My brothers and sisters, we cannot fight this battle alone. The enemy wants us to isolate our hearts—so that he can pierce our hearts with darkness. Let us take a stand on the Rock, and we will have a constant flow of strength. We can also find strength as we lift each other up, for “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV) We can have a harmonious, resilient marriage. We can have emotionally healthy, thriving children. We can break the chains of anger and despair, but we cannot do it alone.
May God bless you as continue to fight the forces of evil—with renewed strength flowing from within your heart. May you never grow weary of doing good.
Read the powerful true story of how God changed my life forever in my book, Break Every Chain: A Police Officer’s Battle with Alcoholism, Depression, and Devastating Loss, and the True Story of How God Changed His Life Forever. Available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and iTunes.
Jonathan Hickory is a Master Police Officer with the Albemarle County Police Department in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his 15 plus years of police experience, Jonathan has mentored and instructed other officers in police driving methods and as a Field Training Officer. Jonathan spent seven years investigating the reconstruction of fatal vehicle crash sites and three years as a motorcycle officer. Jonathan proudly serves as a member of the Police Department’s Peer Support Team providing Critical Incident Stress Management support to fellow officers. He also leads a Life Safety team with The Point Church in Charlottesville and the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. Jonathan has been married to his wife Stacy for over 14 years and has two children.