Mexican President Felipe Calderón has made battling drug cartels a cornerstone of his presidency, sending 25,000 soldiers and police across his country to battle drug-related violence. But hundreds of people have been killed this year in battles between drug gangs and security forces. A major problem is that some usually low-paid police officers are working for drug traffickers (see The Christian Science Monitor, "Mexico boosts police ethics to fight drugs," May 22).
The actions being taken, such as arresting corrupt police officers, emphasizing ethics and service in police training, and increasing police salaries, all contribute to more professional policing. There's a way we, too, can help. The Bible promises, "The prayers of the righteous have a powerful effect" (James 5:16, Moffatt translation).
We can pray for the police and security forces in our own countries and elsewhere who are engaged in the challenging task of overcoming drug-related violence, by recognizing one of the central messages of Jesus' ministry: that God is actually governing now. The Gospel of Mark quotes Jesus as saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" (1:15).
In conditions involving such violence, it may not be easy to see God governing. But the situation in Mexico gives some indication of God's government – in the courage of Mexicans in general not to accept the inevitability of violence, in the determination of some elected representatives to root out drug-trafficking, and in the selflessness of those working to eradicate this problem.
Jesus, the perfect example of selflessness, proved that God's government is actual. According to Luke's Gospel, Jesus encountered a corrupt tax collector named Zacchaeus. Jesus didn't judge or condemn him; he loved him as a son of God, and as truly spiritual. He addressed him by name and valued him so much that he went to his house – and this in spite of the disapproval of people who felt he should not have befriended him (see Luke 19:1-10). Jesus' healing approach to Zacchaeus – seeing him as God's child, honest and good – resulted in the transformation and reformation of his character.
Recently an international speaker followed Jesus' example in proving through prayer that God's child is not corrupt. One afternoon, in a country known for police corruption and street crime, he set out to buy a newsmagazine and was directed to the plaza across the street. Thinking that he shouldn't take his bag with him, he left it in the hotel, not remembering that his passport was in it. As he crossed the plaza, two policemen identified him as a foreigner and asked to see his passport. The policemen said that foreigners were always expected to have their passport or a photocopy of it with them. They stated that the man could either go to the police station with them or pay a fine right there on the spot.
The visitor was praying, knowing that the policemen, as expressions of the Divine, could be governed only by Truth, by God – and by honesty, a quality of God. They couldn't be lacking integrity or in any way since they were the children of God.
He talked cordially with the police but explained that the organization he was representing didn't allow him to pay them in the way that they were suggesting. After about 10 minutes, the men called their superior, with whom the man, who was continuing to pray, had essentially the same conversation. After about another 10 minutes, the senior officer handed him back his driver's license (the only official form of identification that he had with him) and wished him a pleasant afternoon.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and who prayed for the freedom of all peoples, wrote: "... progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 233). We can all contribute to humanity's progress by helping to root out police corruption. Affirming in prayer that divine Love is protecting, guiding, and maintaining the integrity of all people helps society move forward.