• Today's Daily Devotion
The Red Dot
HIS WHOLE demeanor changed after he saw “the red dot.” It was on his chest where an officer had aimed his TASER in case it was needed. Then the young man began ...

THE RED DOT

Chaplain Glenn Stone

St. Clair, MI, Police Department

HIS WHOLE demeanor changed after he saw “the red dot.” It was on his chest where an officer had aimed his TASER in case it was needed. Then the young man began to weep, and we learned the whole story.

It was a busy weekend—a carnival, offshore boat race, and a rock concert in the park. It brought thousands of people into our community, and called for a plentiful “police presence.” As department chaplain, my responsibility was to be on foot patrol with a junior officer. It was nearly 3 a.m. and my shift about to end, when we were called to an argument between two men. It clearly had the potential to become explosive. When we asked the more hostile of the two for identification, he gave us his driver’s license and military ID—he was an MP. He continued his belligerence, so our officer unholstered his TASER and shined the red dot. Seeing the dot, the young MP broke down, backed off, knelt down, and began to cry. I knelt with him, and he told me he’d only been home from Iraq 15 days. He couldn’t quit thinking about seven people he’d seen killed there. As we talked, I noticed a cross around his neck and asked if he knew a military chaplain. He said yes, and he had the chaplain’s number. I suggested we contact him, so he dialed the number right then and left a message for the chaplain to call him back.

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It was clear both to us and the other man in the argument that the incident had more to do with the soldier’s grief than anger. In fact, when my officer and I offered to drive the serviceman home, the other fellow made the same offer! We took him, because I wanted to talk with him. On the way I told him he needed to remember and hold on to four things about the cross around his neck: faith, hope, love, and God. I asked him if he prayed, and he said he did. I told him never to let a day pass without prayer, for that is what would give him the strength he needed in the weeks ahead. The next night he returned to the festivities. He welcomed us as friends, and said the military chaplain had returned the call within the hour! Since then that chaplain and I have discussed ways to help this young man deal with the horror he had experienced.

In reflecting on that incident, I realize that sometimes aggression and anger are a mask for hurt and the need for someone to listen and understand. There are many people like him who need to “see the cross” instead of “the red dot.”


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