GRACED WHILE INTOXICATED
By THE POTSC TEAM (Names and locations have been changed to maintain confidentiality, but the story is true)
This is the story of Bill, a police office from Phoenix, and he has an amazing story of Second Chance in action.
Late one evening, Bill stopped to assist another officer with a traffic stop. After administering a breathalyzer, Bill took over and arrested the man for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). As he drove the man back to the police station, Christian music played softly in the background. Bill always plays Christian music, and as he settled in, he engaged the drunk driver in conversation.
"What do you think about what's happening here?" Bill asked.
What could he think? The driver wasn't a career drunk; he was devastated by what was happening. Yet he was also drawn by Bill's choice of music. He revealed that he was a Christian, with a certain amount of embarrassment.
Bill asked the drunk driver, "Do you feel like a Christian now? Is this how you want to represent God? Because, you know, it doesn't have to be this way."
The drunk driver was quiet. But Bill talked on. He talked about drinking, and life, and God. And then he took the man to jail.
Several weeks later, during the trial, an interesting thing happened: the case was dismissed.
It was a technicality, something to do with the original officer. As Bill was packing up his things to leave, the driver, now a free man, approached him in the courtroom and said, "That conversation changed my life. You made me think about my faith and what I was doing with my life. I haven't had a drink since then, and I've restarted my relationship with God. Thank you."
Bill's story is amazing not just because it happened in a context that many of us will never know, but because it so clearly demonstrates two things.
1) Giving grace is a choice. Bill could have berated the driver for his crime, or simply sat stoically in the front seat. But instead he engaged the driver, and treated him with dignity.
2) Giving grace isn't always the most obvious route. In this case, you might think that giving grace would be to let the driver off with a warning. But Bill operates in a system -- one he respects, and one we all depend on. The act of grace was to show compassion despite that system.
Hear this: Grace doesn't always clean a man up -- sometimes it's just loving a man while he's still dirty. And that happens by choice, not accident.
When is grace the hard choice for you? How will you choose grace anyway?