For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. – Psalm 86:5–7
From Caitlin Estes
“Well then I won’t be your friend anymore!” This classic comeback was (and is?) the trump card in all playground arguments. Not only would the offender immediately relent, but they’d stumble all over themselves to make things right again. As adults, we’re not that different. The phrase “I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget” silently tasks the offender with making up for this mistake for the rest of their lives.
No wonder it’s so difficult for us to comprehend a good God, who loves unconditionally and is ready to forgive, when we practice that forgiveness is earned, and the earnin’ ain’t easy.
One translation of Psalm 86 states that God’s “eager to forgive” — as in, no convincing required. Unlike playground friendships, God requires no outward proof of repentance. No tears or mission trips or donations could make us deserving of it; God knows our hearts. So when we genuinely request it, it’s given quickly, completely, and permanently. This kind of forgiveness develops gratitude, humility, love, and compassion & mercy for others – inviting us, in turn, to forgive others in the same way.
These few verses hold this foundational reminder that we need every single day. Let’s memorize this truth together.