Have you ever been arrested? It’s an interesting experience. I know, because it happened to me once. Just once so far.
When I was a young man, I travelled with a friend, in Europe, and we wandered too close to the iron curtain in Communist Europe, specifically Czechoslovakia. Today the location is in Slovakia.
There was no iron and no curtain, and we missed a small border marker, and wandered onto the wrong side, and a heavily armed military squad came to get us.
Yes, I was handcuffed and held in a forested area, and then we were released to the Austrian police. I remember they drove us to their police station in a Volkswagen Beetle patrol car.
On the safe side, the Austrians were unhappy with us for disturbing the peace, and for being so dumb. They were going to lock us in a cell overnight, and then someone convinced them to let us go.
That really happened, and it taught me a life lesson. I don’t confront officers in uniforms, with guns. Once was enough. It is a sobering experience to look into the barrel of a loaded gun and to put your hands in the air.
The Communists were wrong to lock down the countries that they controlled and to arrest wandering tourists at the border, I believe that sincerely. I also know that I should have stayed away from that dangerous place.
So, what happens if we are arrested? What if you or I should form an opinion, and then express it, and then get arrested for doing that? This is becoming more common than most of us know.
You may know that Peru is experiencing political strife, and many tourists can’t find their way out of the country. They are trapped.
Next door, in Brazil, there is disagreement about a recent election. The media is not reporting this, but that country has had some of the largest demonstrations, in history. Even in Mongolia, people recently tried to storm the parliament building.
Plan your next vacation carefully.
Where I live, we had COVID restrictions, and many Christians disagreed when open church services were forbidden. In any place, there are fighters who act out and disagree the most. Some Christian pastors were vocal, and they were arrested and jailed.
Their stories are interesting, in a scary way:
I drove someone to a meeting, recently, and one of the speakers was the man in the video, Artur Pawlowski. He is an aggressive debater, and I would not argue with him. He would argue back, and win. His stories about being arrested, and held in solitary, are sobering, whether we agree with his opinions or not.
There are stories of severe treatment of pastors in prisons and in mental hospitals, and some lawyers claim that the worst treatment was illegal.
I don’t want to choose sides in COVID arguments. We all have opinions, and we can say what we think. Imagine the day when that becomes dangerous.
It is easy to take sides in these disputes. Those pastors should have been treated better, for example, and the government plans to apologize now.
We have a problem. When we feel safe, we can be cruel, if we can do it in the name of good administration. Our human nature is our biggest problem.
We were told to “love one another” but we were also told about how good we are at hating. Jesus put both things in the same statement. I have inserted the ‘//’ marks to show the shift from love to hate:
“This I command you; to love one another. // If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, the world hates you.” (John 15: 17 to 19)
It is clear that civil society is a good thing, but it is also clear that the population of that society needs to be repaired, one at a time. I know that includes me.
We need to be arrested by God.
If we can’t move to the ‘love’ side, we can’t solve our problems; we can only shift the blame and make things worse.
God help us.