For some reason some of my closest friends over the years have been ministers and police officers. They both, for the most part, are well respected professions. Next to lawyers, they’re probably two of the most joked about professions as well.
I’ve realized over the years there are some things that people say quite often to them that is not only rude but can be quite offensive. For example, my pastor friends always hear things like, “I wish I had a job like yours, where I would only work one day a week”. Not at all true! As an outsider looking in, I’m surprised at the number of hours my minister friends put in a given week. In addition to the endless list of church meetings, they also get phone calls at home, get called out in the middle of the night to go pray at someone’s bedside, or counsel a family in crisis. Not to mention all the time they spend preparing for their Sunday sermons.
I’ve also noticed most of my minister friends are emotionally drained. They pour so much into others they have little left for themselves and their own families. The constant worry of living in a fishbowl with hundreds of eyes watching their every move and having to put on a put-together face to the church (because they expect it) yet crumbling on the inside from the constant criticism is daunting to say the least.
I’m sure we can all come up with a list of things people say that offend us. As a photographer, I often hear, “that camera you have takes nice pictures”. That’s like saying, “that stove you have bakes a nice cake”. It really has nothing to do with the stove or the camera.
We’ve all joked about police officers and their donuts, but one of the most offensive lines I’ve heard spoken about police officers is, “I pay your salary!”. Guy gets pulled over or questioned for something and the officer is quickly reminded that he’s a burden to all tax payers. I believe people who say such things typically have greater issues with authority. If you take a single police officer’s salary locally for example and divide it by the number of people who live in the city, we’re really only paying pennies a year for their services. Its also good to remember that they’re also the ones who run towards danger to rescue the rest of us. And they know when they kiss their wives and children good-bye each day it could be their final farewell, even if they’re cautious and play every move by the book. Yes, there are officers out there who abuse their authority, but for the most part the majority of them understand their duty to “protect and serve”.
I’m thankful to have both cops and ministers around. I’ve noticed over the years they both share similarities. They both uphold laws and values, are mocked by those who need them most, and they’re really never off duty. I would add they’re probably lied to more than the rest of us and at the end of the day most of us don’t heed their advice.
So the next time you see one of them remember, they’re just like the rest of us…human!
The bottom line is as it always has been. If you can’t say something nice, well, you know the rest…