‘The Shack’ teaches forgiveness

Everything happens for a reason. This is a phrase we hear a lot, especially when we go through difficult experiences. Saying this phrase is easy, but believing it is another story, a story much like William Paul Young’s novel “The Shack” (2007).
Originally, the novel was self-published, but when it began to fly off the shelves in bookstores across the nation, it became a USA Today bestseller. About a month ago, the movie was released in theaters. I can’t say whether or not the movie is any good, but what I can say is that the book needs to be added to your “to-be read” list.
This is the story of Mack, a husband and a father. He was living an ordinary life, until one horrific day when his daughter, Missy was abducted. Mack learns that she was brutally killed inside a small, run-down shack, where the majority of the novel takes place. How does any father move on with his life after such a tragedy? How do any of us move on from the tragedy that happens to us in our lives?
Mack receives a note from God telling him to visit the shack. After some hesitation about the note, he decides to take the weekend and visit the shack. While there, something miraculous happens, he meets the Trinity.
“The Shack” is about learning how to forgive. It’s about Mack’s redemption on life and all of his broken relationships. His time spent at the shack and with God is all the time he needs to forgive even his worst enemy, the serial killer. As a reader, we learn how to forgive and we learn how to love. But most of all, we learn how to go through tragedies and come out stronger through Mack’s experiences.
Each chapter begins with a quote. One that stood out to me the most was from Frederick Buechner: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
We all go through tragedy and with tragedy also comes change. As human beings it’s difficult to not resist change, but sometimes it’s forced upon you whether you like it or not. Sometimes people come into your life, and leave unexpectedly like in Mack’s story. What’s important to remember is that these people do continue to live in our hearts.
If a world truly lives inside each of us, then it’s up to us to love larger than most, forgive quicker, and always ask for forgiveness. We’re transformed by the tragedies that happen to us, but this is a novel that teaches you how to make it through.
Hearing a story like Mack’s changes us and I’d like to say that it changes us for the better. The reading experience you will have with this novel is one you won’t forget. So I encourage you to pick it up and give yourself a few page turns to examine a man that overcomes his “Great Sadness.”

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