This is about forgiveness

It won’t surprise anyone that I was in church this morning.

It might surprise a few people that I paid attention. Emily and Frank Nefos preached together as a team and they related the story found in the last chapter of the Gospel of John in which Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times to address the three times Peter denied Jesus the night before He was killed.

Their message addressed the shame and guilt some sins cause and God’s capacity to forgive our sins.

Right afterward, we were worshiping and I got this word so I wrote it down and here it is….

Forgiveness is forward + giving = we can never pay God back for His grace and His great capacity to forgive and restore but God isn’t interested in us paying Him back, rather God wants us to pay it forward to give forward that which will never suffice going backward.

Plus, it really isn’t needed in that direction.

Think of this, think about how the world could change if we did this. An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind but forward giving (forgiving) and paying grace forward would revolutionize how we relate to one another. 

“But I can’t forgive, I just can’t let go of what that horrid person did to me.”

We can’t and sometimes we can’t forget and we sure as hell deserve justice in this world and (and this is hugely important) we need to protect future victims from being similarly hurt but we still need to forgive the person because all of that held within our hearts is poison.

But I still can’t forgive.

Start by giving it to God, let God deal with it because God can handle it even when it is slowly sapping you of all your joy and strength but remember what forgiveness is and what forward-giving of God’s grace does to our spirits.

It is the difference between household pipes that are vessels of flowing fresh water and festering sewers filled with stagnant waste.

What happened to scholarship? (and I do not mean cash to cover tuition.)

I have noticed an alarming trend toward a demand for highly focused specialism instead of scholarship with a broad base of knowledge as desired qualities in PhD candidates and I believe that this as well as my age has played its part in me being rejected from seven PhD programs over the past three application seasons. 

I thought this was a problem limited to the sciences but it may be present in the social sciences as well.

This is a human rights issue.

This is a feminist issue.

Taking the dignity of scholarship out of PhD programs and selecting exclusively young people that are obsessively focused upon one narrow area of study is impoverishing our universities.

There is a lot of discovery in the life sciences and I dare say this phenomenon is changing our society and affecting the unfolding of the future and we are entrusting it to technicians who don’t seem to care for context or the disciplines of ethics, sociology, or logic not to mention rhetoric.  

I hope to expand upon these thoughts, I welcome your thoughts, and I hope that the lucid flow of thought that was once characteristic of a university might remain after these emerging technicians with letters after their names are, themselves, too old in some narrow-minded eyes. 


Do not ever forget that we all have enemies seen and unseen. Monsters that are given power usually fan the flames of fear to their own advantage. Authentic love, the very thing that makes our lives of value is not unopposed. Those of us who love and are beloved find it difficult to comprehend others that seem to enjoy harming other people.  But the sister of Love is Hope and Hope is a powerful ally. She hears the song the Universe is singing and she is not afraid to stand by your side on your worst day.


Almost isn’t Real

I found myself driving down Rt. 322 at exactly the wrong time yesterday and I went into water observing the person ahead of me successfully traversing the flooded road. The problem is I drive a mini cooper and it is about the smallest car on the road so I thank God I made it without shorting out the electrical systems of my car and then I faced a deeper flood and observed the people driving ahead of me and suddenly didn’t feel as though driving through that section of road was the smartest choice.

So I backed up and let the person behind me make her own choices. She went on ahead and stalled halfway through the flooded portion of road. I sat there long enough to see the firefighters start to rescue the poor woman who was trapped in her car and gingerly started to make a 180 degree turn. I say gingerly because, if you don’t know the road, there was a cliff to the right and the raging flooded Brandywine River to the right and a flooded section of road I had to traverse once again. 

The other side of Harmony Hill was flooded and the road was jammed back to Skelp Level Road so I took Shadyside which was mostly uphill but the rain was blinding and the road was flooded in spite of its elevation.

I ended up at Jessica and Mike’s house.

Glad almost isn’t real.

Glad for a daughter that took my unexpected visit in stride.

I had fun watching Jeopardy with them.

Am very glad for the sunshine and warm dry weather today.

Saying a little prayer for everyone whose real wasn’t an almost and hope today brings rest and healing.


john pavlovitz

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