“The Shack”, allegory and empathy – but forgiveness?
Posted Jan 25 2011 5:08am
“I brought a book I think you’ll find interesting,” my cousin said as we sat down for lunch recently, handing me a paperback copy of The Shack by Wm. Paul Young .
I will not suggest motives she might have had in giving me this book other than the fact that she knows, perhaps as much as any confidant, “The Great Sadness” which has been stored, occasionally been visited, and grown unchecked in my own run-down Shack. I’m guessing she might believe the message of the novel might be applicable to me.
It is not difficult for me to imagine how wrenching it would be, a step out in faith, to face those men I have written about who wronged me in my childhood and youth. At least one is dead and the others , well, I don’t even know their names let alone their current state-of-being.
That’s not the point. Were they to appear in my dreams I would almost certainly be forced to confront them. Would I, in such a dream, or do I now, in compartmentalized pain, feel willing – to say nothing of empowered – to symbolically release their throats from my grasp and hand them over to the power whose many names include God.
The message is to trust that something beyond my judgment, my imagination – beyond belief often – is a better repository for the judgments (which I ultimately can’t inflict anyway) than am I.
Somehow, in releasing my grip, forgiveness looks more like letting go – leaving judgment to forces beyond me. The haunting “monsters” of my past, after all, are dead as far as I know so holding on is clearly only hurting me.