I was particularly moved by a story I read online a few days ago about a pair of Michigan police officers who chose to mete out grace and compassion instead of justice. These officers—Jason Pavlige and James Hodges— answered a phone call reporting a woman holding a baby in her arms while riding in the passenger seat of a car. They learned the young couple involved couldn’t afford a car seat for their child. They were new to area, just getting on their feet, and had no family, friends, or co-workers they could call on for help.
Instead of ticketing the couple for their infraction, they chose another solution—a beautiful work of grace in this young couple’s life.
“We spoke with each other and made the decision to go get them a car seat so we’d know the kid was safe and that this issue wouldn’t come up again,” Hodges told ABC News.
What amazing insight these two young men demonstrated. Rather than administering the justice that was within their duty to perform, they understood that ticketing the couple wouldn’t solve the root problem. In fact, it would only exacerbate and magnify the issue. If they couldn’t afford the car seat now, how would they be able to afford it after paying a fine? Instead, they gave freely and the issue dissolved.
Sometimes the power to change someone else’s life is in our hands. Leaders should ask themselves, “How can I help?” before we go strictly by-the-book and teach them a lesson by administering swift justice.
Instead of giving people what they deserve, how about giving them what they need when it’s in your power to do so?
Also published on Medium.
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