the shack

I want to share an excerpt from a book that I recently read which deals with, amongst other things, the nature of forgiveness.

the part I want to share with you is the part of the story where the main character must deal with forgiving the person who murdered his six year old daughter.


"So , does this mean," Mack was again a little angry at the direction of the conversation, "that if I forgive this man, then I let him play with Kate, or my first granddaughter?"

"Mackenzie," Papa was strong and firm. "I already told you that forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established."

"So forgiveness does not require me to pretend what he did never happened?"

"How can you? You forgave your dad last night. Will you ever forget what he did to you?"
"I don't think so."

"But now you can love him in the face of it. His change allows for that. forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation. And sometimes-and this may seem incomprehensible to you now-that road may even take you to the miracle of fully restored trust."

......."Help me, Papa, Help me! What do I do? How do I forgive him?"

"Tell him."

Mack looked up, half expecting to see a man he had never met standing there, but no one was.

"How Papa?"

"Just say it out loud. There is power in what my children declare."

Mack began to whisper in tones first halfhearted and stumbling, but then with increasing conviction. "I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you."

......"Wow!" he said hoarsely, trying to find any word that might describe the emotional journey he had just waded through. He felt alive. he handed the kerchief back to Papa and asked, "So is it all right if I'm still angry?"

Papa was quick to respond. "Absolutely! What he did was terrible. he caused incredible pain to many. It was wrong, and anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don't let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck."

(william p young, the shack, pages 225-227)

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