Yesterday morning, I arrived at the church at 6:30. I saw that Pastor Brian’s car was already in the parking lot. When I walked into Dennis Hall, I saw Pastor Brian in the break room making coffee. This was a big no-no because I am the only one allowed to make the office coffee. In the past, I’ve been let down by too many associate pastors who take perfectly good coffee grounds and make the worst coffee on the planet.
But, I remembered Pastor Brian has been a marginally adequate associate pastor and he was trying to do me a favor, so I decided to err on the side of grace. Then I poured a cup. It didn’t look right, but again, I decided to err on the side of grace. As I chewed the first sip, I chipped one tooth and cracked two fillings. The flavor was exactly what I thought a burning tire would taste like. The consistency was similar to concrete. I continued to err on the side of grace.
As I chewed the second sip, I began to see colors I had never seen before and my teeth turned a permanent shade of dark brown. Also, the taste buds on my tongue became numb and I lost all the feeling in my toes. I realized if I took another sip, I would have to be rushed to the emergency room. The bottom line is Pastor Brian’s coffee was bad. And I don’t mean it was a little bad. It was Bad with a capital B. And this is where I can say that while erring on the side of grace cost me my physical and mental health, it was still the right thing to do.
We live in a world that seems to be devoid of grace and mercy. There are no second chances. There is no forgiveness or chance of redemption. And this is where those who follow Jesus Christ are called to a higher standard. We err on the side of grace because this is what Jesus taught and lived. It is what God expects.
Having said that, there will be times when we are let down. There will be times when erring on the side of grace seems to have been a mistake. And in those moments of disappointment and failure, we must remember God continually extends grace and forgiveness to us and we are to do the same to others. One day, as Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. It was very clear that she had committed a terrible sin and the law dictated her death. But Jesus, seeing the hypocrisy of her accusers said, “Let anyone who is among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, each of her accusers turned and walked away.
Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Then Jesus said some of the most important words in the Bible, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (John 8:1-11)Jesus chose to err on the side of grace. He did it for this woman, he does it for us, and he expects us to do the same for others.
So, as you go about the busyness of the day, remember to err on the side of grace. It’s the best way to live.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, thank you for extending grace to me, time and time again. Help me to do the same for others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Because of Jesus teachings, even though I am facing huge dental bills and will also need psychotherapy, after taking two sips of the worst coffee in the history of coffee, I will err on the side of grace. But that doesn’t mean I will ever let Pastor Brian make coffee again. I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.