You know the police are in “control” of New York. It isn’t just how safe one feels at all hours of the day. You see them everywhere! Hanging out at the entrance to subway stops, cruising every street, even taking time to stop and give directions to a lost tourist. The traditional blue uniforms with all kinds of stuff attached to the waist, pockets, and legs always seem to be visible. Day night, often more quiet than not, just being there. I hope I never fit one of their profiling targets.
In the mist of the presence, apparent authority, and physical intimidation, the wise know their authority is either limited or enforced after the fact. The sheer presence, force which comes with numbers, and overall message have not eliminated the taxi driver who cheats, store keeper trying to swindle, or even the person on the street randomly terrorizing the unaware. The force can react, but so far they haven’t been preemptive with their actions.
It is easy to feel intimidated. It could be the police, a thug, or even just an annoying one; each in their own way controlling the situation and attempting to control your life. Yet we have a inner core of freedom and authority which no person, regardless of power, force, or presence, can take away.
It is easy to forget. Pilate thought he could have authority over Jesus. Jesus’ response clearly said otherwise – “You haven't a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault.” (John 19.11)
I wonder if we, you or I, realize how much authority we have. You and I control our life, every key decision is ours and only ours to make. We can choose mercy or justice. We can choose acceptance or isolation. We can choose to act on compassion or ignore the world around us. We, you and I, have the authority.
Today dawns, fresh, full of opportunities. You/I have the authority to be the difference.
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