III. Scrubbing too much and using too much lubrication is all too common, unnecessary, and can lead to greater problems. Scrubbing often comes from not giving your solvent enough time to work (or it may be inferior and need replacing).
Spiritual Application: The Ultimate Peace Officer, Jesus, addressed the officials of His day and their obsession with not letting the solvent of God’s grace do its work in their (and others’) lives. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” (Matthew 23:25-26) These officials were more concerned with outward religious observances than with the heart and its ongoing battle with sin. Let the solvent of God’s grace work in your heart in the day-to-day battle against, sin, death, and the devil.
IV. Use single purpose cleaning products. “All-in-one” cleaner-lube-protectant solutions can be valuable – especially in a small kit in your ‘go-bag.’ But, they rarely are on par with cleaners, lubricants, greases, and protectant products that are singular in purpose.
Spiritual Application: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) Here, unity is not uniformity; unity comes from within and is a spiritual grace ... each part of the body is different from the other parts, yet all make up one body and work together. Gentleness in fulfilling this vocation is a needed protectant because meekness is not weakness. It is power under control. In the Greek language, this word was used for a soothing medicine, a colt that had been broken, and a soft wind. In each case you have power, but that power is under control.
V. Use the best and most appropriate equipment. Coated or synthetic rods help to avoid marring barrels and chambers; right fitted cleaning patches are more efficient as they use fewer strokes than slotted tips. Use the right sized screwdrivers to avoid stripping and harm. Your life can depend on the quality of your firearm – don’t use tools that are ‘less than’ for something so important.
Spiritual Application: “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Here the encouragement is that we continually hold fast to these virtues, which are the fundamental ideals of life according to God’s design; that we keep them in the forefront of our minds, in our very consciousness, so that they animate and accompany all that we do.
The Latitude of our Attitude
As a retired peace officer and yes, as a law enforcement chaplain, I want to encourage you to maintain your firearms and other equipment. Especially as a chaplain I (and surely the chaplain(s) for your department) want to walk along side you as you face the idiocy and folly that so often comes during your shift. I am not (nor is your chaplain) in this just to marry and (especially not) to bury you.
And so, along with St. Paul, I encourage you, “Think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned... Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:3, 9-10)
Just as maintaining your equipment can ensure that you survive your shift, putting on the “full armor of God” (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18), staying situationally aware of and maintaining your spiritual wellbeing can help you survive this career and the life (in retirement) that comes after it.
Stay Safe and Watch your Six!
Rev. Frank C. Ruffatto