BEST BUY messed up. One of their ads listed a 52 inch flat screen television on sale for $9.99. Clearly a great deal. And if it's too good to be true...well it was. As soon as the error was discovered it was corrected with a four digit price tag. Of course, the hubbub now is, shouldn't they have to honor that deal even if it was in error? The answer is no. Their website has a disclaimer specifying their right to change prices without notice. So you can turn back around and head home with your $10 bill and dreams of a large screen television.
Watching this on the morning news, I was thinking of how much we tend to enjoy the mistakes of other people. And if there is a gain for me resulting from a mistake by you, all the better. We seem to circle like vultures sometimes waiting for someone else's error to benefit us. Cashier didn't ring up the sale price? I want the item free! My steak was too rare? I'd like to speak to the manager! Wow. How unlike the Christian who accepted the death of the Lord in exchange for their own lives should such an attitude be. I am of a mind that every tiny opportunity to extend grace over the error of others is a moment of holiness. Being that I experience few moments of holiness in my daily behavior I am grateful for the chance to emulate the tiniest nuance of Jesus.
Last night in a restaurant I picked up my glass of iced tea to take a sip and noticed a bug floating on top. I asked the waitress for a fresh glass of tea and she politely obliged and confirmed my initial thought, "Oh gross!" She didn't offer me a free iced tea, a coupon for a free appetizer, nothing. Just a fresh bug-free glass of iced tea. I was fine with that. I was not interested in launching into some foolishness about how could such a thing happen? Didn't she even look as she was filling the glass? There should not be bugs in a restaurant! This place must be filthy, if there's a bug in my tea what does the kitchen look like? I've heard such statements. I've heard them from the mouths of those aforementioned Christians who apparently find no parallel between politely accepting a fresh glass of iced tea and the death of Christ for their own. Grace. Simply. The act of not demanding the mistake-maker; the sinner or the Best Buy guy; to pay for the mistake.
Maybe it seems like comparing salvation to a mispriced television is silly. I think the television is sadder. Christ got no benefit from the cross except the joy of our forgiveness. The benefit we seek is entirely selfish. A sort of hand-rubbing glee at the thought of gain not earned.
If you're still not convinced, that's OK. Just consider the possibility of the one who has erred being given momentary grace with kindness and not condescension. Might the recipient gain a tiny glimpse of Jesus as we step just a little closer to grace?