This morning the front page of our local paper made me sad.
‘Drugs shame cop jailed’ shouted the headline. The story was about a young police sergeant who’d been caught trying to give illegal drugs to ‘as he tried to seduce a young man’ in a gay bar.
I only caught a glimpse of it as I ran out of the front door, late for work (again). I don’t know the backstory (can we ever, really?) But it made me reflect on the unhappiness of this young police officer’s situation. Yes, he’s done wrong, broken the law, and that’s particularly serious for a policeman. But I sense a sad struggle in the background.
I know a bit about Rainbows, the bar he was in because a number of my friends – gay and straight – have mentioned what a friendly, open, accepting place it is. It’s widely known as one of the most chilled out, peaceful venues in the city.
And then I imagine this young officer there. Is he desperate for some acceptance? Looking for some relief? Has he struggled with his sexual identity? Wrestled with what others may think of him? Felt the conflict between his public position and his private world? What drove him to the crazy risk of using drugs to try to buy love?
And I see in my mind’s eye that police sergeant’s face, as pictured on the front of the paper. A photo taken as his guilty verdict was announced. Grief. Broken. Hopeless. Finished.
My heart went out to him.
And it stirred in me again the strong desire for our community, our church, to be a place where all can come, no matter what ‘guilty’ verdicts hang over them, no matter what struggles they have and try to hide. I want to be part of a community like Rainbows, but even better. A community where all are accepted, welcomed, loved – as they are. And we can walk on together, all broken, all heading for a better future because God accepts us all – as we are.