Today’s chapter begins to tell us of the effect of David’s sin. God told David that this day was coming and it was now here. David was forgiven of his sin, but the effect of that sin was still to follow him. This sin not only will affect king David, but the entire nation of Israel. In today’s reading we see that David allows his son Absalom to return to Jerusalem; I would imagine that, in David’s mind, he had done what was right. If we dissect this situation a bit further we see that he is not right in his actions or attitudes.
David did not fully forgive Absalom. The fact that David did not want to see Absalom shows that instead of forgiving him, David “tolerated” his son. In Psalm 51 we see David’s repentance for the murder of Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with Bathsheba. David received complete forgiveness from God; but yet David was unwilling to forgive Absalom. David had committed murder in order to cover his own sin and to steal a man’s wife from him. I do not want to seem to justify Absalom’s murder of his half-brother; but the circumstances in Absalom’s case were much more justifiable than in the case for David. Absalom was retaliating for the rape of his sister. Not just a drunken mistake, but a planned and plotted scheme to molest Tamar. King David did not view it in the same light as we have just viewed it. David was unable to understand the concept of “grace for grace.”
When we receive the grace of the holy, perfect and righteous God how much more, as sinful man, should we forgive others? Jesus told the parable of the man who had a great debt in which he could not pay. When this man knelt before his creditor, the creditor forgave the debt, a debt that was more than the man could have earned in his lifetime. Jesus then goes on to say that the man who found grace went out and found a man who owed him a small debt. He had the man imprisoned after grabbing him by the throat while demanding his money. Jesus said that the master who had forgiven the large debt, when he found out, was outraged against this evil man. The master then handed the evil man over to the torturers for his original debt. Due to the evil man’s unwillingness to forgive others as he had been forgiven, his original debt had been placed back upon him. (Mt.18:21-35) We need to take great care in how we forgive others seeing that we who are in Christ, have had a debt, that could not be paid, forgiven by our master.
An illustration of half-hearted forgiveness would be in a marital relationship. When a spouse does something that puts a great strain on the relationship, then they come, with a broken heart, asking for forgiveness; that act must be forgiven and forgotten. When someone simply allows their spouse to remain under the same roof with them, it is not true forgiveness. We see in these situations that in the future when there is an argument or disagreement, the issue is brought up and thrown in the face of the one who sought forgiveness. This wrong doing of the spouse becomes something that can be pulled out at any time as a weapon. It can be used as a constant reminder of the persons failures and diminishes the self worth of the one who sought forgiveness. This is not forgiveness at all, my friend, it is an emotional prison! What if God forgave us in this manner? What kind of life would we have if God constantly reminded us of our past sins? It would be a terrible existence. We should therefore work in order to forgive as God forgives. David did not do this; now it is going to catch up with him.