One of the characteristics of God that is so moving to us mortals is that He is a forgiving God. That’s good too, because without God’s forgiveness, we would all be lost. The Psalmist in Psalm 130 expresses this truth in verse 3. He writes, “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” The point is that no one could stand! We’d all be lost. We all need forgiveness. The Psalmist doesn’t hesitate to proceed to ask God for forgiveness and mercy. He asks with confidence because he knows that forgiveness is one of God’s characteristics. Verse 4 says, “But with you there is forgiveness…” Later he states that it’s based on God’s “steadfast love.” That means he never fails us. He will always forgive us.

Jesus calls us to be “Godlike” in this characteristic. We too should be faithful to forgive. I don’t know about you, but I’m not as “steadfast” in this trait as I should be. I can carry a grudge for a long, long, time. I don’t like it, but I have trouble with it. Bitterness harms only the carrier! That’s why Jesus exhorts us to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.

Dale Carnegie once noted that grizzly bears don’t like to share their lunch. Those in Yellowstone often eat where the garbage is dumped and usually scare away or run off any creature who attempts to intrude on their grazing territory. This huge bear can fight and beat almost any animal in the West, but it lets the skunk share its meal. Carnegie said that the grizzly surely resented the skunk and could have easily killed the little creature in any fight. No doubt the bear would have liked to have gotten even with him for his intrusion. But he didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.

That bear is a lot smarter than I am. I’ll allow my stomach to churn, my mind to storm, and my soul to turn black with bitterness as I think about wrongs I’ve suffered. It eats away at my vitality and my personal walk with God. It’s like a cancer to our souls. It claims millions of victims every year. It spreads faster than the common cold and threatens the survival of many churches. Yet there is a cure for this plague: FORGIVE! Let it go! Give it to God.

In Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Prospero, when finally given a chance to punish those who had removed him of his rightful place as king, states, “Let us not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone”

“We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.” (Psalm 123:2)