A Lesson on Dispensing Grace

In the dead center of Bell-Ringing season this is NOT a message I wanted to receive. In the heat of days full of meetings, deadlines to meet and a bell-ringing goal to meet, this is not the feedback I was looking forward to.   A donor called yesterday, to complain, about a bell-ringer.  This is not the message I wanted to hear.  A donor had claimed that she had given money to the bell-ringer.  The bell-ringer had pretended to put the money in the kettle, but had slipped the money into his pocket.  As the Kettle Coordinator told me this story, I was livid.  The bell-ringer needed to be punished – fired, even.  Justice had to prevail.

Today, like I always do, walked into the room to address the bell-ringers.  There, he sat.  He tried to say something to me, but I walked past him.  I reminded the bell-ringers to never touch the money.  I reminded them to ask the donors to place the money directly into the kettle. I expressed how disappointed I was with one of them.  I made it clear I was displeased by what one of them had done.  Right in the midst of my next sentence, I saw a hand go up.

The accused bell-ringer raised his hand.  I gave him the floor.  Looking down in shame, he said, “I am the one who stole $10.00 yesterday.  I am very, very sorry I took the money. Please forgive me. I am sorry.”  There was silence.  I felt a lump in my throat. I felt warm tears fill up in my eyes.  You see, I wanted to be mad at the thief.  I wanted to punish him.  I wanted to make everyone know that you don’t steal from God … from The Salvation Army… from me.

My reaction was different.  I was filled with compassion.  I sensed a deep sadness for him.  In that moment, God whispered, “Dispense grace.” Holding back my tears, I asked the Kettle Coordinator to pray.  He prayed.  I went around shaking everyone’s hand, and pronouncing a blessing on them.  When I got to the accused, now repentant worker, I thanked him for his honesty.  I told him God forgave him.  Who am I not to forgive?

Today I learned something from a bell-ringer – the power of repentance and confession.

Today, I learned something else from God – the power of His amazing, in-exhaustive grace.

Who has wronged you?  Who has let you down?  Who has stolen from you, robbed you, or destroyed what belongs to you?

Today, I ask you to dispense grace.  Give them the gift they do not deserve – grace.  Give them some unmerited favor.  Forgive them.  If God forgave you, who are you not to forgive?


7 thoughts on “A Lesson on Dispensing Grace

  1. Wow, what a great way that you dealt with the situation. True! God has given us His Amazing Grace and we ought to show it to others! God bless you and your ministry brother!


  2. We were all very touched at our friends confession. God’s grace is suffecient. I am also very honored to have a pastor, with an amazing heart, filled with Gods wisdom and love for mankind.


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