February 25, 2009 Welcome back to The Shack. At least I hope I left you thirsting for more. I was really hoping to share with you chunks of the book that are devoted to dialog in which God walks Mack through the stages of forgiveness, and also of what forgiveness is not. It's first of all for you, the forgiver, God gently tells Mack. It releases you from something that will eat you alive—that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly. God tenderly tells Mack that forgiveness doesn't excuse nor does it necessarily create a relationship—does not in and of itself require that trust is restored, though it could build a bridge toward that end. It does not mean Mack should not still be angry.
At one point, God, in an especially hushed moment, says, "Mackenzie...you try to make sense of the world in which you live based on a very small and incomplete picture of reality—like looking at a parade through the tiny knothole of hurt, pain, self-centeredness, and power, and believing you are on your own and insignificant....Because you don't know that I love you, you cannot trust me."
That was the Father speaking. The Spirit added, "Mackenzie, you cannot produce trust just like you cannot 'do' humility. Either it is or it is not. Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love. And I do love you."
Now that you've heard me, over these last few weeks, allude to things I do and don't like about the book, I will leave you to decide what you think. (And come to think of it, aren't there usually things we do and don't like about most every book we read?) Call me if you'd like to borrow my copy. It's just a little paperback—less than 250 pages. Or you can visit theshackbook.com to see more.