A couple of weeks ago we had a family lock-down film evening. We watched a film called ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.’ It’s a gritty film, in some ways a hard watch, dealing with issues of hatred, racism, violence and unresolved grief. However, there is a moment in the film which shines like the sun suddenly piercing the darkest of clouds.
If you think you might want to watch the film, I suggest you stop reading this now!
The chief of police in Ebbing, Chief Willoughby, has died; but before his death he wrote a letter to one of the officers in his police department, an angry and violently unpredictable man. As this man reads the letter to himself, he hears the chief saying these words to him:
‘You’re a good man, Jason, but as long as you hold on to so much hate then I don’t think you’re ever going to become what I know you want to become – a detective.
You know what you need to become a detective? What you need to become a detective is love.
Because through love comes calm and through calm comes thought; and you need thought to detect stuff … it’s kinda all you need. You don’t even need a gun and you definitely don’t need hate. Hate never solved nothing. But calm did and thought did.’
In the context of this difficult film, the very last thing you expect him to say in answer to the question about what you need to be a detective is ‘love’. As I say, it is like the sun unexpectedly breaking through the clouds. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
And I realise, of course, that it’s true. And the reason it’s true is because at the heart of every molecule, every atom, that goes to make up the universe is ‘love’. ‘Love’ is the fundamental principle of absolutely every single thing in the universe. And the reason for this is because God made the universe, and God made the universe to reflect and express his being, and God islove. When God looked at everything he had made and declared it to be ‘very good’, he was saying that everything in the universe perfectly expressed his being, perfectly reflected his will in creating it - that at the heart of everything there should be love.
‘God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.’ 1 John 4:16
‘This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ 1 John 4:9-10
If you are living in love, you are living in tune with God, you are living in turn with the way the universe is designed to run.
What you need to be a good detective is love. What you need to be a good bank manager, a good refuse collector, a good taxi driver, a good engineer, a good footballer, a good cook, a good solicitor is love.
What difference would love make in your office? In your classroom? In your kitchen? On your pitch?
How would love help you to do what you do better?
How would love help you to become what you want to become?