When William Ewart Gladstone was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he sent down to the Treasury for certain statistics upon which to base his budget proposals. The statistician made a mistake. But Gladstone was so sure of this man's accuracy that he did not take time to verify his figures. He went before the House of Commons and made his speech, basing his appeal on the incorrect figures that had been given him. His speech was no sooner published than the newspapers exposed its glaring inaccuracies.
Mr. Gladstone was naturally overwhelmed with embarrassment. He went to his office and sent at once for the statistician who was responsible for his humiliating situation. The man came full of fear and shame, certain that he was going to lose his position. But instead, Gladstone said: 'I know how much you must be disturbed over what has happened, and I have sent for you to put you at your ease. For a long time you have been engaged in handling the intricacies of the national accounts, and this is the first mistake that you have made. I want to congratulate you, and express to you my keen appreciation.' It took a big man to do that, big with the bigness of the truly merciful.
The worst of men do not so much need our forgiveness as the best of men need the forgiveness of God; and one would have thought that the wonderful mercy shown to us by our gracious Father would make the forgiving of our brother man for any injury he may have done to us, a very simple matter.—Henry Durbanville
(Matt. 5. 7; Eph. 4. 32)