Good Cop, Bad Cop.

‘You play good cop and I will play bad cop, hopefully we can drag a confession out of this guy.’

There are probably many, many scenario’s, in many films where the ‘good guy – bad guy’ scene has been played out. It fits a basic construct, cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, good against evil, oppressor against the oppressed. The scenario has been used so often and for so many years with its relationship important for those untold generations.

Working with young people for many years, who in the main were and are ‘on the margins’, those who might be described as being from ‘the underside of life’ and non-book culture kids; I have to confess I too used the good guy – bad guy language. For many of these young people they had limited options open to them. In certain circumstances they had been hemmed in by others, even by society itself. Having limited scope for development they saw choice as no choice at all and they crossed the line to become the bad guys. My experiences enabled me to see beyond the first impression of bad guy – there was and always is a good guy waiting to break out.  For example, during the punk era the outrageous clothes and hair styles, the face furniture and of course the music, shocked many people.  In some cases it was felt to be safer to cross the road and get out of their way. But if you did ‘get in the way’ and mentally strip away layer one, what did you find – a human being who possessed many of the same qualities that you and I may have. Layer one was just the visuals, and it crept into the emotional, the physiology and psychology of the person. You might at that time ask ‘who is the real person in front of me?’ 

Confronting (maybe too strong a word), lets say chatting to the bad guy and unearthing the good guy was when the real work began. How do you unearth the good that is hidden beneath the layers of bad? 

I devised this strategy. It may not work for everybody but was relevant to what I was engaged in. it was this, I openly, as soon as the bad guy kicked off, challenged the bad guy by telling the person I know that there is a good guy inside. ‘I want to work with the good guy; the bad guy is in your control.’ And then crucially ‘Why are you letting the bad guy rule your life?’ admittedly I often took quite a lot of abuse, but I also knew that the good guy would eventually emerge.

I could achieve things with the good guy, but was limited with the bad guy, because the bad guy already knew that their actions would bring the weight of authority to bear.  In their minds the bad guys were the cops or people in authority, who they were habitually coming into conflict with, and 

I think the good guys of ZOOM are great and thank God for them, the bad guys pollute ZOOM.

The good guys in communities feed their neighbours, the bad guys stock up food trollies with greed.

The good guys live in fullness of the light; the bad guys know the dark places to inhabit. 

Jesus was talking with his disciples, and Peter decided that he would be the good guy and make sure Jesus would be kept from any danger, safe in his hands, what a good guy. Jesus, who is the ultimate good guy was having nothing to do with Peters gesture and in the most severe terms gave him a rollicking!

Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16 verse 23 

Whoa, that stuck one on Peter. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God.’

Peter was becoming a good guy, but at that moment he thought that Jesus was incapable of looking after himself and he Peter would do it for him – hence the lesson. The bad guy was peeking out and got caught by Jesus.

It’s a lesson in life for all of us. When we see the bad guys emerging what do we see? What lies behind all of us is the bad guy waiting to break out, Satan is at work. It took a bit of time and patience but Peter became the good guy and so much more. Based on his own experience Peter was able to write

“Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men (the bad guys) and fall from your secure position.” 2Peter 3:17

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