Police officers already do so much for our country and the cities they serve in, but the other day Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Durnil did something particularly outstanding. Durnil caught Rodney Gibson speeding in his truck and pulled him over. When Durnil approached the vehicle he could tell that Gibson was especially upset and angry, but realized it was over something other than his traffic violation. The officer tried to figure out what the problem was. With tears in his eyes, Gibson’s explained that his daughter recently informed him that the breast cancer she had been battling for the last six years had metastasized and she probably wasn’t going to make it. Gibson revealed that he had been thinking about this and wasn’t paying any attention to his speed.
Officer Durnil went back to his police car thinking that what Gibson really needed was not a ticket but prayer. Durnil felt this man was already going through enough and decided not to issue him a ticket or even a warning. After telling Gibson this, the officer asked him if there was anything else he could do. Gibson asked, “Do you know how to pray?” Having already been thinking about this, Durnil went over to the right side of the vehicle, took off his hat, knelt down to a knee, grabbed Gibson’s hand and prayed with him right there on the side of the road. Both departed with tears in their eyes. Gibson later called the police station to thank Durnil for his kindness (Yahoo).
Of everything that officer Durnil did well, perhaps above all else what he did was to offer compassion by praying with the offender. How refreshing it is to see people responding with such kindness. Often times Jesus stood face to face with some of the most detestable sinners of society and instead of dealing out punishment, the Savior felt compassion for the people while still pointing them in the way that is right (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34). Even as He was hung there nailed to the cross, Jesus responded with, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What a tremendous attitude!
How comforting it is to know we serve a Lord of exceptional love and compassion. This kindness should motivate us to practice righteousness so that we do not fall from His grace (Galatians 5:4). Let’s strive to imitate this compassion in our relationships with others when the time is right. Above all else, let’s praise the Lord for giving us compassion when what we really deserve is punishment.