A career in criminal justice is not for the faint of heart. These professionals are tasked with many missions within our communities—enforce the law, maintain order, keep the peace, investigate criminal activities, help keep citizens safe and more. They often see people at their very worst, and yet, they are still tasked with staying professional, objective and compassionate. The ideal criminal justice professional infuses honor and integrity into every pursuit, both on and off the job—qualities that people of Christian faith understand and value.
In fact, there is often quite a bit of overlap between Christian principles and workplace guidelines for criminal justice professionals, so it is more than possible to hold true to Christian ideals while wearing the badge.
What is a Christian Worldview, and What Does It Look Like in the Law Enforcement Profession?
Let’s start off with, what a Christian Worldview is. In its most basic form, it is the framework of ethics and ideas used to guide Christians in their everyday encounters. It is especially important as faithful Christian individuals deal with major dilemmas or crises. While worldviews can differ significantly from one denomination to the next, in general, somebody with a Christian worldview will believe in:
- Humans are sinful by nature
- The inerrancy of scripture
- The need to serve God in all walks of life
Belief alone is not enough, however. Those with a true Christian worldview will turn beliefs into action every day and fully integrate Christian ethics into their daily life. In law enforcement, living the Christian faith and having a Christian worldview means upholding ethics not only because it is legally and professionally prudent, but because of the police officer's desire to please God and abide by His word.
How a Christian Worldview Can Impact Professional Dilemmas
Years of training and education cannot wipe out the impact of a worldview that has been honed over the course of a lifetime spent within a faith Christian community. In those tense situations when snap judgments take over, a law enforcement official's underlying worldview is likely to impact how he or she responds. Professionals equipped with a consistent Christian worldview strive to be more like Christ in all they do, and while they're bound to fall short of this ideal, their Christianity can successfully guide them through difficult ethical dilemmas.
Balancing Christian Ethics with Criminal Justice System Ethics
One of the biggest struggles for Christian criminal justice professionals lies in the temptation to eschew their personal ethics in favor of the values adopted by the criminal justice system, or worse, in favor of workplace subcultures. Unguarded, these subcultures can muddy the Christian’s faith definition and its application in all walks of life. Many elements of the Christian worldview can be found in detention centers, courtrooms, and other settings. But this overlap may begin to dissipate when workplace and academic culture come into play.
Despite these temptations and outside forces, many law enforcement officials have succeeded in their efforts to focus Christian faith and let it guide their work. Unfortunately, this can be surprisingly difficult when there's pressure to fit the mold. While there is value in fitting in with other law enforcement professionals, Christian police officers must know when to draw a hard line and abide by the framework of Christianity.
Compassion For the Incarcerated
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus claimed, "I was in prison and you came to visit me." Outreach is important in all populations, but especially among incarcerated offenders, who have the most to gain through establishing a relationship with Christ. Those with jobs in criminal justice must abide by professional standards, but they can still extend empathy and compassion to incarcerated individuals, while also providing an exceptional example of what it means to lead a life guided by Christian morals.
If you’re passionate about criminal justice and feel called to do His work, we invite you to unite the combination of your faith and beliefs with our Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration program. To learn more, visit us online or call 855-791-7201 and speak with an admissions counselor.