A friend manages a public golf course. One day he was called to the front desk by one of his employees. Upon arrival he was faced with a man being detained by the local police. The man was trying to use some forged golf passes to play a round of golf. The police were ready to cuff the man and take him to the police station. All they needed was our friend to press charges.
Our friend looked the man in the eyes and was overwhelmed with his desperation and sorrow. He looked at the man with grace and saw a father, a husband, and a good man who made a bad choice. The suspect had a sense of desperation about him. Our friend immediately knew that pressing charges wasn’t the answer and would do nothing to help this man. He told the police he wouldn’t press charges, but did want to speak to him alone and in private.
Once alone, he didn’t ask the man any questions – he just said that he could see in his eyes that he was a good man and was probably overwhelmed at the moment and made a bad choice. That was it. No lecture or reprimand.
He told his wife that night that he just couldn’t press charges. He could tell the forgerer was just trying to get away for a bit to relax and forget his woes. He wanted to forget his troubles and situation for a few hours while on the golf course. He could see/sense all of this by looking in the man’s eyes for a few seconds. He told her that all he did was look at the man with an open hear, gave him some silent blessings, and let him go. This wasn’t a crook or criminal. He was a fellow human being in a moment of despair. All he needed was a little loving and forgiveness.
The gentleman called our friend at work a few days later, crying. He thanked him for his generosity and for not pressing charges. He was at a low point in his life and was looking for a little solace and momentary escape and made a bad decision.
The lessons in this are to not be too quick to judge and have an attitude of love for everyone you meet. We’re all in this together. It’s easy to make snap judgments and create stories about what’s going on. With a quick glance it’s difficult to determine the sort of life someone is living or their situation. Instead send them love and be in a state of graciousness for everyone and everything you encounter in your day. It’s easy to do and gets easier with practice.
Develop this discipline and watch your life transform.