Prosecutor of Mercy
He fell asleep while driving. He crossed all the oncoming lanes of traffic, smashed into a short landscaping wall, up a short hill, through a tall fence, and came to a stop just short (maybe 2 inches) from a house. The car ended up on its side between the house and a tree. The young man’s first memory is of the officer helping him climb up and out through the passenger door. After a brief visit to the hospital, he walked away almost totally unharmed. Wow is he lucky, and fortunate, and blessed.But then came the legal fallout. He was driving with no insurance and on a suspended license. The hospital bills, insurance company, and traffic tickets to 3 different cities were in the tens of thousands, all while making $8.50 selling ice cream. The young man who grew up around Freedom Fire and so along with his family he had some good help to navigate through a thicket of troubles. He paid about $1,000 in fines to one city and now sat before the prosecutor at another. After looking over his file, she looked up at him. She could see all his problems – how he had ignored previous tickets, ignored laws about insurance requirements, kept driving while suspended, and of course the accident.Then she began to speak.“You are your own worst enemy. What are you doing out there? I can see you are a good kid, why do you keep hurting yourself? You should be in school, working 2 jobs to make your dreams come true. I can see you have good people in your life, but it’s all up to you.”She read more of his file, saw the suspended license for skipping a court date.“Young man, what are you doing with your life? I have been doing this for a long time and I can tell that some people won’t listen to me. But you’re different. I can see you’re smart and have a lot going for you. But, please, what are you doing with your life? Unpaid tickets, skipping court, speeding, driving without insurance, driving while suspended…. ”As she talked, the young man began to cry. Hearing her list all of his mistakes was painful and embarrassing. I sat quietly, praying that God would be speaking to him through a woman he’d never met, saying the same things he’d heard from me. And I could feel it happening – finally getting through.She also could see the impact of her words, and finally she said, “This city doesn’t need your money. Use it to go back to school. And when you do, bring me your first grade card so I can see how good you’re doing. Good-bye.”I felt like God himself had spoken through her – seeing into his heart and instead of judgment He spoke mercy and hope.His first words after leaving the courthouse: “I'm going back to school.” He continued talking through the morning, “It hurt when she was talking to me, but I wasn't mad at her. It was good for her to say those things to me out loud.
It sounded sad as she was talking about my life. She wasn’t talking like a prosecutor. She was talking like she knew who I was. She was talking to me like a mom.
I was making a lot of excuses to myself. She was totally on point and correct. Not only did she give me a low fine (it was $20), but she made me want to get more than what I am getting right now. This is like her giving me an opportunity to spend my money on school instead of fines. I've just been doing a bunch of nothing.I want to get a better job, not for her but for me.And I need to go back to school sometime soon. Really soon.
She wasn’t talking bad, it made me feel good. If someone like her could see the good in me, then I need to do something.”
I wonder if we would all have that response if we had the chance for God to speak to us. Instead of hearing judgment, we hear mercy. And our hearts respond with unexpected joy and thanks. And then, in return for his love, we want “to do something” with this life he gave.