Yesterday, Jan was off to meet someone for a counseling appointment, so I headed to a local market to buy some groceries for dinner. In the checkout line, I began to place items on the conveyer belt. When I picked up a bottle of Kinder BBQ sauce, my hand slipped, and the bottle fell to the floor and exploded. If I could have reduced time and let the image play out in slow motion, you would have seen the BBQ sauce splash upward in a beautiful fan-like pattern all across the front of my clean shirt finally coming to rest in a blast zone of smoky goodness on the floor of the checkout aisle.

Like all events of this kind, I stopped and stared in unbelief at the mess I made that was now dripping its luscious BBQ sauce bliss from my previously clean shirt. The first words out of my mouth were, “I am so sorry. Please charge me for the bottle.” The man checking me out said, “No problem. That’s the cost of doing business.” He went on to thank me for offering to pay for the bottle.

When the man said, “That’s the cost of doing business,” I realized how true he was. Some disasters, large and small, are simply the cost of doing the business of life. Like you, I would love to live in a disaster-free zone, but that kind of life is an illusion. The recent arrival of our new puppy, Boone, has harkened me back to the days when our babies arrived and changed our lives into something called parenthood. Boone’s teething teeth and the accompanying puncture wounds up and down my arms are evidence that blood is the cost of experiencing puppy love until they are trained to use their mouths in less destructive ways.

If perfection and a BBQ sauce-free floor or a puppy without teeth is what we are looking for in life or even demanding from God, we will become disappointed and perpetually angry with people and eventually, with God. This world can be a mess at times. That is the cost of being human. 

If you caused a mess in someone’s life, confess your part in the problem, offer to pay for the damages and then help clean up the mess. Don’t just walk away and ignore what happened. If someone else causes the damage, represent God’s heart regarding their failure. Step in and help them clean up their mess. Jesus modeled this for us when He stepped into our world to pay the ultimate price to clean up the mess of our unredeemed lives. That’s the only way we can live free when human failure takes place. It’s the cost of doing the business of God’s Kingdom.


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