What’s the best thing about forgiveness? Most of us would say, “Relief.” Forgiveness relieves us of guilt and shame. When we ask God or someone else to forgive us of sin and they grant it, it brings relief. We feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off of us. There’s nothing wrong with finding relief from forgiveness. But what if that isn’t the best thing about forgiveness?
Psalm 130 is one of those songs that the people of Israel sang as they climbed the hill toward Jerusalem for one of the feasts. In this Psalm, the author cries out for God to hear his prayer. Look at what he writes in Psalm 130:3-4,
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.
Maybe the greatest thing about forgivess is that it helps us develop a healthy reverence for God. The relief of guilt, while a foundational part of forgiveness, is bonus. Why does forgiveness help us to fear God? Forgiveness reveals God’s love, mercy, and grace toward us. It helps us to realize He doesn’t have to forgive–He could simply punish, but He chooses not to punish those who seek His forgiveness in faith. As the writer of the Psalm says, “…hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is lovingkindness (mercy), and with Him is abundant redemption.”
What, to you, is the best thing about forgiveness?