Friday, September 2, 2011

Sharing our Faith

Leave it in the Sock Drawer

Written by Travis Harmon

From 1999 to 2004, I worked for a police department in northeast Arkansas as a patrol officer. The story I am about to tell is possibly the single most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me. If you are not a police officer, you may not think it so embarrassing. But I have rarely felt more like a complete and total failure than I did on this day. In fact, I have told only two or three people in my life about this incident.

I worked the second shift, so I got off work at about 10 p.m. On this particular day, I was asked to come back to work at 6 a.m. to help the short-handed first shift. My routine was completely thrown off. When I got home I made my gun “safe,” and I left all of my gear out because I had to put it back on and go to work so early.

I got to work the next morning and the first call I took was a vicious dog call. It is so rare to actually find a vicious dog that I rolled up to the house knowing that I would find a loveable little pup that was just annoying a neighbor. When I got to the back of the house, I was confronted with the most ferocious bulldog I have ever seen. We had about 90 feet of open grass between us. When he saw me, he immediately started to growl. As I was drawing my pistol and taking aim, he started to charge. I rapidly aimed and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. For some reason the dog stopped about 30 feet from me and I realized my gun was on safety. I felt so inadequate. I quickly moved the safety to fire, and the bulldog, fiercer than before, started toward me. I pulled the trigger and was again rewarded with nothing. I stood perfectly still, out of fear or bravery, I do not know. As the animal charged and ran by me, he tried to bite my arm. By only the grace of God, he missed, and his teeth only made a glancing blow at my hand, leaving an imprint. He ran by me and circled for a third charge. I knew instantly what had happened. The night before, in an attempt to make my gun “safe,” I had also taken the bullet out of the chamber. I quickly backed away to my car. In my retreat, I loaded my gun, having missed two opportunities to save myself. I then called the dog catcher and waited in my car until he arrived.

I cannot tell you what a miserable failure I felt like. Even now, years later feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy flood my heart over the incident. I almost lost an arm. If it had been a person with a gun or a knife instead of a dog, I would be a dead man. My two girls would have been fatherless. What if I had been sent to a bank robbery instead of a dog call? I was defenseless. I had the skill to save my life but it was a false sense of security because I had made the tool that could do it inoperable. If I had needed to use my weapon to protect a brother officer, he or she would have been dead because of me. It was all because I wanted this dangerous object to be “safe.” I never felt so unworthy to be an officer.

One day when discussing firearm safety with fellow officers, I heard one remark, “If you want the gun to be safe, leave it in your sock drawer at home.” I wonder if many Christians are not putting their Christianity in the sock drawer at home and leaving it there, or if they put in on safety and try to take the bullets out?

For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb 4:12

Christianity is not safe. We do not want to talk to our friends about it because we know it can pierce the joints and marrow. We live in fear that our friendships will be damaged if we discussed our beliefs. In reality, Christianity is a defensive weapon that is to save life. In the Great Commission Jesus says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mar 16:15 We are not to leave it at home. We are to take it with us. In fact, our friends should be furious with us if we do not try to talk to them about our Lord. They will be one day. Our Lord will also be furious with us if we try to make it safe. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire Mat 7:19-23

I have a hard time not taking Mark 4:8-9 personally; “And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. (9) And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” I have ears. I hear. How am I doing on my hundred yield increase? My sixty? Or even my 30? You know what? I have a neighbor that I have lived by for four years that I have never talked to about the Gospel because I wanted our relationship to be safe. How safe is that? I cannot tell you what a miserable failure that makes me feel like. I think I better go see him on the way home if I want to make it home. Rom 1:16


  1. Well-said and thought-provoking. May each of us be a worker that needs not be ashamed. The gospel is God's power to save. Thanks, Travis. Fire away.