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Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Cops Surprise Accused Criminal… with Grace

  • Jim Daly
    Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2013 Aug 14
  • Comments

When was the last time God prompted you to go out of your way to help someone?

That’s what happened to Ryan Willard and Duane Fields, two West Virginia law enforcement officers whose response to a typical shoplifting call will inspire you.

According to a report from The Charleston Daily Mail, Willard and Fields arrived at a local K-Mart to look into allegations a young woman had tried to steal from the store.

What they found in the small backroom went beyond the cold, hard facts of the case, however. There they found a young mom with her two small daughters.

She was accused of stealing diapers, rash cream and some clothes for her girls.

“She didn’t take anything to benefit herself,” said Officer Willard.

It turns out the woman is going through a divorce and trying to make do without her soon to be ex-husband’s help. The policemen could have simply gone through their work routine. They would have been right to do so.

Instead, though, after fulfilling their job duties, the two men bought the mom the items she had attempted to shoplift. They said they wanted to help. Officer Fields is quoted as being inspired to this good deed, in part, out of his desire to “live a good, Christian life and help people when they need help.”

That young mom certainly needed help. She was probably overwhelmed by the difficulties of her situation. I can’t imagine what went through her heart and mind as those officers gave her some practical help – and the hope she desperately needed.

We know there are times for tough love and hard lessons. But there’s also a time to extend grace. The trick comes in knowing the difference and blending and balancing. For that, we can trust the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. But we also have to be willing, like these two officers, to step outside of our daily routine and go out of our way for someone else.

Instead of just looking at life as a legalist, how much more challenging – and beautiful – to go through our days thinking, “How can I bless someone in need?”

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