The Three Phases Of Forgiveness
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. Psalm 130:3-4
A lot of different of people in the Bible admitted their sins, but a man named David was unique in saying, “I have sinned greatly.” Was David that much worse than others? Not necessarily. But David’s sins and his repentance can give us insight into the importance of the process of forgiveness.
David once demanded that a bathing woman he saw be brought to him and he made her pregnant, even though David knew she was married. Then David had her husband killed and took the woman as his wife. But he was soon convicted that what he did was sin, not only against the woman and her husband, but against God. David’s first step was acknowledging his personal failure.
Next, David asked for God’s forgiveness. He cried out, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4). Notice that when David asked for forgiveness, he also asked for healing. We accept that God is gracious toward us, but often, forgiving ourselves can be a barrier to healing.
A third important step is seeking restoration. Cooperate with God in bringing healing to your life and the lives of those whom you have hurt. Do anything in your power to facilitate the healing of those you sinned against and surrender your self-hatred to God too. Our sins destroy connections to those we love. But God’s forgiveness allows us to repair connections with God and others, as well as bring personal healing.
Resource reading: Psalm 41:1-13