Forgiveness, above everything else, is a sign of love. The more we love and value another person, the quicker we are to forgive that one if they have hurt or harmed us, injured or insulted us. Love, especially deep love, will forgive quickly and completely.
On the other hand, when someone does something to us that is on purpose, knowing that it will offend us deeply or cause us great pain, that’s another matter completely. We may replace forgiveness with grudges and wait for an appropriate opportunity to get even or settle the score.
David was threatened by his guilt and needed God’s forgiveness. It is obvious in the opening verses of Psalm 51. His guilt was destroying and overwhelming him. And, he could find nothing within himself that provided him any assurance that God would forgive him. He knew that he did not deserve God’s forgiveness. So, he appealed to God’s “lovingkindness, his steadfast love, his great compassion, his eternal compassion” – all words that are included in the translation of God’s hesed – God’s love. Why did he find it necessary to ask God to “blot out my transgressions, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin?” He feared God’s wrath.
David realized the significance and seriousness of his sins. According to the laws that governed the children of Israel at that time, God would not forgive him for what he had done. He was frightened! Where could he go? What could he do?
Appeal to God for His mercy, faithfulness and love. And that mercy, forgiveness and love have always been and always will be available. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse of all unrighteousness.”
By Michael A. Guido, D.D