I spent a good portion of yesterday sitting with my mom in the waiting room at Forsyth Medical Center as my dad was undergoing his heart catherization and subsequent angioplasty. There were a lot of people who came in and out of the room, some of them patients while others were family members anxiously waiting to hear positive words about their loves ones' procedures.
Late in the morning an elderly gentleman was brought in seated in a wheelchair with several members of his family. I noticed he had good wits about him and was even a little bit feisty. His right sleeve was rolled up a little bit and almost as soon as the nurse had applied the break to his wheelchair and headed for the door, he called out to her to come back over to where he was. There was blood oozing from a needle stick to his right arm and he wasn't too happy about it.
He began to fuss at the nurse about the mess it was making on his shirt and how he couldn't understand how the phlebotomist (fancy name for the guy that draws blood) failed to put a bandage on the site, especially since he had told him that he was taking a blood thinner. The more this elderly gentleman talked about it, the more agitated he became.
A few minutes later another nurse came in to dress the wound and he gave her an earful as well. Finally, the "guilty party" walked into the room, the phlebotomist who drew the blood to begin with. The elderly man laid into him as well, reminding him for what I'm sure was the umpteenth time that he was on blood thinners. As the phlebotomist examined the site, his eyes trained on something that the elderly patient had yet to see. Rolled up in his sleeve was a bandage that originally been on the site. Apparently when the man pushed his cuffs up it pulled the bandage off and caused the bleeding to commence.
What happened next was what really drew my attention. Before the elderly gentleman could even cut a slice of his own humble pie, the phlebotomist bent down next to him, sincerely apologized for what had happened, and insisted on leaving his contact information for the man so that he could have his shirt professionally cleaned. I'm not sure how to describe the shade of red that swept over the patient's face as he stammered and stuttered about something to the effect of, "It was okay, things happen, and there's no need for you to go to any more trouble."
This scene reminded me of how many times I've done the same kind of thing to other people, blaming them for mistakes that they didn't commit. I've only done this to my own kids at least a thousand times. What if God chose to do that to us? Imagine if He looked at the messes we make and said, "Let me give you a piece of My mind! You're gonna have to pay for that!"
The beauty of the gospel is that the price for our sins is already paid. This doesn't excuse us from acting responsibly or suffering consequences for what we do, but it does give us hope that even though we've done nothing to merit God's grace and forgiveness, He offers it to us anyway. And in this case, it is Jesus' blood that does the cleaning for us.
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