Always Be On Guard!

By Steve Goode

Steve served as a police officer on the Greensboro Police Department from 1986-1997. This article is from Steve’s personal reflections and opinions, and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the present day Department.

What does a police officer do to keep busy at two in the morning on a weekday? In an effort to keep the thin blue line secure I will refrain from telling you everything, but I can assure you there is always something to do, to avoid nodding off to sleep behind the wheel.

It was the winter of 1989 and I had been a Greensboro NC police officer for almost two years. I was assigned to the west side of town and had just left a coffee break near interstate 40 and West Wendover Avenue. It was a great place to work at night and there were a variety of things to do such as work traffic, and check buildings. Our primary duty was to answer our calls for police service, but this night had been rather quiet. Too quiet. (I always wanted to use that line in an article. Now my writing career is complete.)

I was caught up on all my accident, and investigative reports, and quite frankly, my eyelids were getting heavy at two in the morning and I needed something to stimulate my curiosity. I already had the window rolled down in the cold weather, and I was afraid to play the car radio too much louder out of fear of not hearing my police radio. As I rode east then west on Wendover Avenue near the postal bulk mail center, a west bound dark colored older model two door Chevy Monte Carlo with a burned out headlight caught my eye. There were two teen looking boys in the car, and their eyes got as big as saucers when they passed me. Something just didn’t seem right about them although the only offense I had was improper equipment for the burned out headlight. Having nothing else on my plate at that moment I chose to investigate a little further. I turned around, got behind the Monte Carlo, and picked up my radio microphone to call in a traffic stop. I had no way to know what I was on the brink of encountering all because of my curiosity.

I activated my bluelights as I called in the description, and tag number to communications. It appeared we were going to be pulling off into a small driveway directly in front of the postal bulk mail center. It was a rather odd place to stop because the driver of the Monte Carlo had no place to exit or pull away with my police car directly behind him. Maybe he was not up to anything so there was no need for him to make a way of escape. Whatever the driver’s mindset may have been, I could not simply assume the best because I had to keep my guard up, and I was still very ill-at-ease about this particular traffic stop.

I stepped out of my police car and carefully surveyed the movements and gestures of driver and passenger trying to see where their hands were resting. They didn’t appear to be scrambling or overly figiting, which was good. I approached the drivers window with the utmost caution trying not to focus on either the driver or passenger too long. I had to be alert. I can honestly say at this point that any concern I had over staying awake was long gone.

I stayed back from the driver’s window which forced him to look over his left shoulder just to see me. My flashlight was partially blinding him from getting a good look at me which gave me a small safe advantage if he was armed. He already had his driver’s license ready and I told him I was stopping him for the burned out headlight. The driver didn’t appear terribly nervous, but the passenger seemed very concerned.He seemed even more concerned when I recognized him. I had been his school bus driver years earlier! Still, I did not see the connections to anything criminal yet.

I was examining the driver’s license and noticed the driver had not given me the registration to the car he was driving. I sometimes let this one go because I can run the license tag, but this time I asked the driver to give it to me. He reached for the glove box and as a precaution I slowly moved my right hand to the handle of my Berretta 92 pistol which was currently in my safety-holster at my side. When the driver opened the glovebox several twelve-gauge shotgun shells fell out onto the passenger floorboard!

At this point I started feeling the adrenaline beginning to pump, and asked the driver to exit the vehicle and stand with me. I also asked him if he minded if I searched his car, and remarkably his only response was, “yes”. I called for an assist car and advised my communications person why. They rushed a car my way as I patted both driver and passenger down for weapons that may do me harm. Both were clean.

I directed the driver and passenger to stand in front of their car as I shined my light into it. The first thing that caught my eye was two ski-masks with eyeholes cut out, and two pairs of black gloves. I then noticed something that sent me over the edge of my red-alert mode.

I shined my light on the driver’s floorboard and noticed the wooden handle of something under the seat. I pulled the handle out and it was attached to a sawed-off loaded twelve gauge shotgun. I immediately placed the driver under arrest as my assist car arrived and motioned for my assist car to detain the passenger. By this time my adrenaline was in full pump and I had lost a partial bit of my hearing and had a low hum in both of my ears.

What I wasn’t aware of at the moment was that the tactical police squad had been staked out at the Wilco gas station on Wendover avenue less than a quarter of a mile from where I stopped these teenagers. The tact squad was staked out after getting a tip that the Wilco was going to be robbed. I had unknowingly stopped the very suspects who were moments away from committing armed robbery at a convenience mart!I would like to say that the tactical police squad was appreciative of my diligence, but that would not be true. I cut in on their effort that night and took quite a bit of excitement away from their quiet evening.

Keeping Alert as a Christian

You may ask what this has to do with our lives as Christians, and maybe some of you have already used the illustration in an applicable way. We each have a duty before God to stay alert, sober, and diligent to the schemes and plotting of Satan in our lives. Satan wants you to fall, and ultimately wants you to fail, but we must be ever-mindful of his cunning and coniving tactics. Just as I recognized the passenger in that car on that night, we fight and war with an enemy we know and are familiar with.

Peter warns us that Satan is just waiting for us to drop our guard and expose our weaknesses. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)

The night I encountered this situation I was tired and fatigued from a very long night, but I didn’t have the luxury of dropping my guard. As a believer in Jesus Christ you will find that Satan has your whole lifetime to wait for you to relax or drop your guard. He looks for those moments in your life where you don’t study the Bible or pray. He watches to find your weakness or weaknesses because he will not relent or ease up. Satan and his helpers are the most interested in finding where you will succumb to his attacks, and he doesn’t have to look that hard with many of us. Many Christians are immoral and willing participants to his schemes.

Satan needs no enhanced interrogation techniques to break you, all he needs is to observe and wait for his moment because he knows it will come.

Know Your Weakness and Confront it!

The night I encountered this situation my biggest enemy was fatigue. I could have easily ignored the car I stopped and done nothing, but it may have placed some of my brothers in blue in harms way even more than I. As Christians you must stay active and alert to your weaknesses and never give into complacency.

The Bible teaches us how to be ready in Ephesians 6:10-18 where Paul teaches us step-by-step how to be prepared for Satan’s attacks. Always be ready and alert because even the most “spiritual” person you know can become weak if they become slack or tired. Always be prepared to take defensive measures in your everyday activities. If you are prone to inappropriate relationships then take measures to cease what makes you fall. If you are an addict then seek out the right Biblical help and get accountability in your life. This list could go on, but we must not give in or give up!

What Has God Revealed to You?

by Stephen Goode

Just because there was a time Helen Keller didn’t understand water, didn’t make it any less real. Just because people don’t see or acknowledge God at work doesn’t mean he isn’t working. To the insensitive, “a sky” and they say “so what.” To those sensitive to the hand of God even the smallest natural functions are gazed upon with wonder.

Recently a person spoke to me of how they saw the numerous little ways God was working in their life and how awesome it was! I pray that we would all train our spiritual ears and eyes to be sensitive to the hand of God in the valley moments as well as the mountain top moments. (Jer 33:3)

Lessons You Can Learn from the Petraus Scandal and Extra-Marital Attraction



By Stephen Goode

Many times, affairs aren’t premeditated. They begin when we begin to place our trust in a person of the opposite sex who is not our spouse. As we begin to drop our protective marital guard, bonds can form that become hard to walk away from. With all the focus on affairs, and in-appropriate marriage relationships, let’s look at what you can do in your own marriages to protect your covenant.

From Stephen’s book Marriage Triage.

What is extra-marital attraction from a Christian’s perspective, and what should be the Biblical response? In this article we will address these hard-hitting questions.

When you are intoxicated by devotion to Christ, it subdues the desire for additional inebriants.”

Jennifer had known Sam for only about six months, and they worked closely together on a few work projects in their business unit. Sam loved playing what he considered to be harmless practical jokes on Jennifer because it made her laugh and light up. She had a beautiful smile and a magnetic personality that just made people feel at ease and comfortable around her. Why shouldn’t Jennifer seem this way? After all, she was a woman who loved the Lord heart and soul, and she was very active in her local church ministries. She wanted to be a good example to others around her, and part of this was being warm and inviting. She never saw any harm in letting a man in her office play jokes on her and carry on playfully each day. She never once looked at this behavior as a potential “boundary tester” and enjoyed the personal attention Sam would sometimes give her. Jennifer began to be more open with Sam about many areas of her life, and even caught herself sometimes staying after work to chat with him about work related issues, and sometimes even more personal things. It became easy to communicate through all the modern day means at their disposal, from text-messages to short emails.

She became so comfortable with their conversations that she didn’t even begin to notice that she had been dropping her own protective boundaries that were in place to guard her heart from temptation. She rationalized away the thought that anything was inappropriate about her behavior with Sam, but she began to notice that she was looking more and more forward to going to work each day. Jennifer even began to dress a little differently and spend more time in the morning getting ready for work. She even caught herself wearing dresses to work which was totally out of character for her fun-loving personality. Still she did not see anything necessarily wrong with her behavior toward Sam because they had never actually touched or even hugged, but emotionally she was beginning to feel something more than a casual friend should experience.

All of this playfulness and time spent in comfortable conversation would be fine except for the fact that Jennifer is a married woman. Has she already carried this emotional infatuation too far? Should a married woman never expect to feel an attraction or connection with another man as long as she lives or is it a matter of our behavior we need to control?

In the scenario I have created, the husband has been very distant to Jennifer for years, and he has not been a consistent spiritual leader in his home. Jennifer has felt lonely and neglected and strongly desires to share an emotional connection with her husband, but the husband has been off his post as the guardian of Jennifer’s heart for quite some time. The result is that Jennifer is now left both vulnerable and empty in her marriage, which has opened the door to outside influences. Although Jennifer is still responsible for her decisions with Sam, the husband should have never placed Jennifer in this position of temptation. If the husband fails to seek a spiritual and emotional connection with Jennifer, she could be subjected to the temptation of a man eager to give her the attention she desires. If Jennifer chooses temporary happiness instead of obedience to Christ, she is about to make some regretful memories she will never be able to erase.

The scenario I described is not based on any one particular couple, but it represents a mosaic of many couples I have spoken with over the past 20 years. Even when I was in police work there were so many domestic incidents where husbands simply failed to fulfill their Biblical roles and in turn the wife made some wrong and sinful choices. In other words, sin brought forth more sin. I know that some of you may not even see an issue with the friendship in this scenario because after all, nothing necessarily happened between Sam and Jennifer, but sin doesn’t start with the act, but in the heart. (1 John 2:16) Can a married woman feel an attraction to someone other than their husband and is it a sin?

You may think I have lost my mind to address this taboo question, but the answer is quite simple. Throughout your entire marriage you will sometimes feel connections, attractions, and likes for people other than your spouse for various reasons. Maybe it’s someone you share work duties in common with or maybe it’s someone who likes a particular hobby that you also enjoy. It could be that the two of you worked on a particular project and have had to talk a lot about some work goals you have in common. It could also simply be the person has qualities that appeal to you.

Even if you have an awesome and sacred relationship with your spouse you can still sometimes see something you like in the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean you must run from the presence of every person you will ever see, but the Bible has some clear direction on the way you should behave yourself. Remember that sin doesn’t indulge itself at the mere temptation, but it does begin in the heart. Remarkably it’s the same path that God uses to become intimate with us. The Bible says that man looks on the outside, but God looks in our hearts. (1 Sam 16:7)

Even though you may sometimes have an attraction to another person, that attraction is never to be pursued out of obedience to God, and submission to your spouse, whether they are doing their part or not. (Eph 5:22-23) Even if you are married to a spouse who is not carrying their load, you are not given a pass to seek out someone you are more attracted to. You are to be patient and pray daily for them and ask God to change their heart. You must strengthen your own heart through prayer and Bible study. (James 5:8)

In the scenario with Jennifer we can follow the pattern of what led her down the road of compromise. It started out with a sense of attraction or comfort, and it should have stopped there, but the positive and euphoric experience was alluring. She began to feel so comfortable with Sam that she encouraged the practical joking and playfulness in their relationship. She then began to spend more time with Sam and shared with him about her personal life and maybe even her frustration with her husband. At this point she has shown total disrespect for her marriage and opened the door for Sam to get emotionally closer to her. If Jennifer does not end this behavior immediately, there is a high likelihood that Sam could replace the emotional connection reserved only for Jennifer’s husband. The pattern is quite simple to follow and is found in the book of James.

“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (Desire) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

The scenario was subtle in its approach much like the illustration of the slowly boiled frog. Any frog will jump right out of a boiling pot, but if you turn the heat up slow it will never know what happened until it’s too late. Since Jennifer dropped her guard early in the relationship when the joking and playing was occurring she was unaware of the danger of what appeared to be harmless activity. I referred to this type of activity as boundary testing earlier because there are times when men either knowingly or unknowingly use this type of behavior as a way to break the ice. In many cases it may be harmless, but a married woman needs to be cautious with other men in her life. She does this out of a desire to be obedient to God and it is a way to show her husband respect even when he is not around. It also prevents a boundary or foothold that may diminish her desire to work on her marriage.

I want to get personal with wives for a moment so stay with me just a paragraph or two more. Have you crossed any emotional lines with men other than your husband? Is there another man in your life right now who you constantly feel the need to defend in front of your husband or make casual contact with, either through phone, text or email? Have you reached a point in your marriage where you just don’t care anymore and just want someone who will fill the void in your life? Wherever you are today I have good news for you! I have just the man you need in your life that can fill the void and make you feel fulfilled! His name is Jesus Christ and He desires a close and intimate relationship with you every single moment of your life. If you take the time to fall in love with Jesus Christ then I can assure you he will give you the strength to resist those moments of temptation that may be attacking you even now. He will give you the strength to resist when the temptation is the greatest.(James 4:7-8) I will be praying for all wives who have a husband who is not encouraging them or providing emotional strength so they will not fall into temptation.

Practical Ways for Wives to Guard their Heart

1. Sever any ties if you are in an emotional relationship with a man outside of your marriage immediately!This includes but is not limited to emails, phone or text contact.(Eph 4:22)
2. Radically study the scriptures or you will compromise! (Theology of Biblical Counseling, Adams)
3. If you work around a man that you find appealing then never be alone with them, and never share personal life matters with them. If they are really a temptation then find a Christian accountability partner to help you remain pure in your marriage that will pray with and for you. If a transfer in your job is a possibility, pursue it! Your marriage and obedience is worth it!
4. Never tell a man you are attracted to him under any circumstances. Be guarded and respectful. If they know there is a chance they will be more persistent.
5. Never go to lunch alone with another man.
6. Always pray that God would increase your desire for your husband in your marriage.
7. If you have a husband that will pray with you then do so daily, even if it is at first awkward.
8. Never confide in another man with the exception of formal counseling, about personal issues.
9. Never have long cell phone conversations with a man who is not your husband.

10. Even casual and consistent texting with a man who is not your husband or wife can lead to a habit that is hard to break. Many of the excuses I have heard are that the messages were short and playful. What they failed to see was the friendship or connection that was forming from these text messages outside of their husband or wife’s knowledge.

A text conversation is a virtual conversation in a private room with no witnesses. Business related texting is appropriate, but husbands and wives need to have a clear understanding that inappropriate isn’t always the content of the messages, but the frequency they occur.
11. There are many more we could list, but you can begin to see a pattern of steps necessary to guard your heart.


Give Up on My Marriage?

Police 2 Pastor” Stephen gets unplugged and REAL as he shares some painful experiences from his own marriage. Stephen and April have been married for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t always a smooth ride.Much of this is found in his book, “Marriage Triage”

Filmed at Crossroads Church Charlotte at a Lift Event (Ladies in Fellowship Together)