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.

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john pavlovitz

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