2020-09-24 - Our Identities in Christ
An alleged murderer was recently captured because a police officer was able to confirm his identity and serve the warrant against him. The alleged killer was caught drag racing on a public road - which is of course both dangerous and illegal. Many felons with outstanding warrants are caught in traffic stops; this is one reason that it is such a blessing for officers to be able to look at IDs. These are people for whom judges have looked at evidence and signed warrants because there is enough evidence for probable cause that they committed the crime. Much more than in decades ago, officers are able to be sure they have the right person because they compare details of his Identity with the Identity of the person whose name was on the warrant - name, address, age, eye color, any marks like tattoos etc. They can even have dispatchers send photos over the officer's phone so that she or he can compare the suspect's photo with the person being detained. Since sometimes varying people have the same name, this is a common habit of police officers, to confirm identity before arresting someone. Consequently, the streets are a little safer, and we are a step closer to justice for the victims and in murder cases, for the grieving victims' families.
While some of us had been taught this before, I think that after the tragic events of 9-11-01, almost everyone realized and admitted that we should all carry ID with us at all times, in case of emergency. That gives medical personnel, officers and others needed info to help them contact next of kin, when there is a need.
When our previous church resettled refugees from several African countries, one of the first things that I did was to take them to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a photo ID card. This made life so much easier for them. You don't need a license to do get a card, and the ID cards facilitate so many processes including getting a job, getting temporary financial assistance, medical care and eventually a driver's license after taking and passing a test. Those cards show a photo and give basic personal info, such as birthdate, address and middle names. You might be surprised at how many people in a metro area have the same first and last name - so believe me when I say that this is necessary for police and others, and greatly benefits the person with the card.
Some of us also are required to have a photo ID issued by our workplaces, and we show it every single day, in order to enter the building. This is just a normal and safe part of life. I have been very thankful for that, as has my husband who - along with every other one of the hundreds of employees at his facility - even had to have their car trunks searched every single day after 9-11 because high-level federal facilities were considered vulnerable.
But ID cards and driver's licenses are unable to tell about the person's beliefs, personality or attitude. They do not tell of their history, hopes, dreams, relationships or priorities.
If you had an ID card that told about your priorities, who the "true you" really is, what would be on it? For me, it would be wife, in-law, cousin, friend, Crime Victim Advocate, Assistant Pianist, Devotionals Staff Member, wildlife lover, bibliophile and more. But what should go in the front of that list, for myself and all of us who are Christians, should be "child of God / follower of Jesus" When people think of us, when they hear our names, that should be the first thing by which they identify us, by our Christian walk.
As Paul wrote to the Ephesian church and us, and is recorded in Ephesians 4:20-24, NRSV:
May we all strive to put on that new self first thing, every day.
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.