Originally posted - May 19, 2008


So I’m driving home from a long stressful day of work on Friday and I’m ready to get home.  As I’m pulling into the intersection near my house, I see a car practically buried in the ditch parallel to the highway.  I could barely see the top of the car from the road.   I instinctively pulled over to see if the man standing by the car covered in dirt was alright.  The man was hysterically crying but seemed to be physically alright (at least until the adrenaline wears off).

He was a foreigner so between his broken English and my broken Spanish we were able to communicate enough to accomplish the task at hand.  I was trying to ask him if he needed me to call an ambulance, a tow truck, or the police.  He told me through the tears that he had no license and no insurance.  He wasn’t really concerned about his own physical health or the car.  He just didn’t want to get in trouble with the police because he was trying to take care of his wife.  He also took out a road sign in the process.  I have no idea how his car got in the ditch like that without another car involved…..?

My usual first thoughts would be, “make sure he is physically alright and then let him face the judgment due to him for his driving skills (or lack thereof), not having a license, and not having insurance.”  This time I decided to use the sympathetic side of my brain/heart and felt that this guy was genuinely in need of a mulligan!  He didn’t hurt anybody else and there was no harm done other than his own self and stuff.  With a heavy duty chain and a truck, the neighbor and I proceeded to help tow his car out of the ditch in efforts to just get it on the side of the road so the guy didn’t get a ticket as is custom.  After slinging lots of dirt and watching pieces of his car stay behind, we actually got his car back on the road and it actually still worked.  Wow!  We told the guy to get out of there quickly before the police came and gave him a ticket.  He kept shaking our hands and giving us hugs as if we just gave him a million dollars.  I told him to “get out of here”….this was his warning and chance to do things right!

If he was an illegal immigrant, the government pays border patrol to catch him.  If he was doing something illegal, the government pays law enforcement to patrol for him.  Sometimes I get tired of doing other people’s jobs…especially the corrective (big meanie) roles!  This time I felt the need to be human and give grace to someone who just needed a break.  I knew he didn’t deserve it but I helped set him free.  It felt good!

Shortly after he drove off, an unmarked police car stopped by my car as I was leaving the scene and asked “what happened here”.  I told him the story and he said “thank you sir”.  He wasn’t mad at me for helping somebody.  He was probably glad he didn’t get there earlier because he would have had to write a ticket to someone who just had a bad day.

As I got in my car to drive away, I felt like the Holy Spirit said to me,
“You didn’t deserve it either, but Jesus died on the cross to set YOU free!”



You said you "felt the need to be human and give grace to someone who just needed a break." That's definitely not a human response! These days, it's usually either hatred or apathy that tends to be the primary thing we feel like dishing out. We ought to save that reaction for our weakest moments and seek to be more gracious since we've received so much grace!!!

Leave a comment