Blue Line

CLOSE TO HOME – The Greater Love

April 20, 2015  By Steve Brnjas

714 words – MR


The greater love

by Steve Brnjas


“He stabbed me!” the teenager yelled as I got out of my cruiser. With that he broke away from his father, ran a couple of driveways over and collapsed on the ground.

His father, still holding the knife, began walking toward him. Without hesitation, I ran between them and ordered him to drop the knife. Eventually, the father did. I arrested him, placed him in my cruiser and began giving his son first aid as back-up arrived.

While everything worked out well, I still recognized how this entire situation could have easily gone sideways, possibly resulting in another police funeral. In my more than 18 years of policing, this was probably the closest that I came to dying. Why would I do this, place myself between the attacker and his victim? I had a wife and children to think about and yet became the protector of this teenage boy who I did not even know.

The reality is that every single police officer, paramedic and firefighter who has ever put on the uniform lives with the potential that something really bad could happen to them.

The Bible has some insights about individuals who lay down their lives for others. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The apostle Paul wrote: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.”

These quotes refer to how and why Jesus died, but I think they can also refer to all those who respond to a a call for help while knowing the danger involved.

Have you ever thought of your life as a police officer as being a greater love? When I think back to my policing career, there was never any hesitation to respond to another officer’s call for help. As in Moncton, every officer knew each other. No matter their personal feelings for the other or the risks that lay ahead they got on the radio and yelled, “I’m going”. Was this a greater love, putting themselves in harm’s way for their fellow officer?

What about a child? If a child is hurt or in danger, there is something within us that kicks into an entirely different gear. We would push ourselves to the limit to get to that child to provide care, comfort and hope. Children are so vulnerable, so innocent that it is easier to want to protect them.

My wife would know I had a bad shift if the first thing I did was to go into my sleeping children’s bedrooms and check on them. She would know something had happened. I would do anything for children not to experience pain and hurt. Was this a greater love, putting myself in harm’s way for a child?

Most often, we are willing to respond to all circumstances, for people that we do not know and in circumstances that most people would never intervene. I did put myself in the middle and now I see a new generation of police officers doing the same, trying to bring peace to situations that are often far from peaceful. Is this a greater love, putting ourselves in harm’s way for someone we do not know?

What motivation is possibly strong enough for anyone put themselves into dangerous situations, not just once but repeatedly? It certainly is not the money. Perhaps the motivation might be nobler then any of you have ever thought. Is possible that if you really look deep inside yourself, the motivation is actually love? A love that is willing to sacrifice in order to bring peace and comfort and help to others?

I think those in uniform who continue to put themselves in harm’s way for another are displaying a greater love. It is the same kind of love that Jesus displayed.

To all those police officers, paramedics and firefighters who continue to put on that uniform each and every day, thank you for continuing to display a greater love.


Steve Brnjas served 18-years with the Waterloo Regional Police and is currently an ordained pastor with the Mennonite Churches of Eastern Canada. Contact: or 519 807-1134.

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