Cold, hard steel…

by DanWolgemuth on December 2, 2011

Pat Sullivan is in jail. He’s behind bars in the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Center, less than a mile from my office. This building was named in honor of Pat’s long time law enforcement history which concluded with him as Arapahoe County Sherriff. This tribute is now his prison.

The details are unsettling and sad. Trapped by procedures he helped implement, snagged by officers he trained, accused against a legal code that he once enforced, Pat Sullivan’s story now races through airwaves around the world.

Strength unchecked, gifts unguarded, and talent uncontrolled can propel unbridled egos to unhealthy and destructive action; and the potential result is that we become an inmate in the prison that our abilities helped to construct.

Competence without accountability intoxicates our ego.

Our focus invites blind spots.

We rationalize.

We miss what could destroy us.

Our independence and autonomy and self-reliance build a prison with our name on it. It was our hammer that we used, we raised the walls, we set the bars… and now we’re trapped behind the cold steel.

Our desire for Godly living morphs into legalism…
Our deep relational commitment exposes our unhealthy reliance on the affirmation of others…
Our wholehearted embrace of grace invites carelessness…
With our warmth we’re prone to manipulate…
With our discerning we gravitate toward judgment…
We esteem truth, but we guard ourselves from personal confrontation or accountability…
Tools that once served us, now become the conduit through which evil flows…
Creativity gives way to competition…
Courage and risk-taking are transformed into skepticism…

… and the door slams, the lock clicks… and the stark reality overwhelms us.

We’re in prison, and not just any prison, but one with our name on it.

When the Evil One looks at our personality profile, he doesn’t attack; instead he applauds us into self-destruction. He’s all too willing to hand us another piece of lumber as we construct what will confine us.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. ~ I Timothy 6:6-12 (ESV)

Flee. Pursue. Fight. Take hold.

Only the Gospel sets us free. It’s the Good News that dismantles the prison.

It’s time to get serious about our gifts.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Det. Sgt./Chaplain M.C. Williams December 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I’ve used a quote and cited this link in today’s Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry newsletter. Great work/well said.


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