Recently, we had an opportunity to view the movie, The Shack. And if you didn’t see the movie, I hope you had a chance to read the book. There were so many powerful moments, so many nuggets of truth, so many emotional tugs at my heart, so many ideas to contemplate. But the overwhelming thought I walked away with is the nature of God as portrayed by Papa, Jesus, and Spirit. The phrase that really struck me was when Papa said she was especially fond of ….. . Put your name in this sentence. God the father is especially fond of ….. . The tender, gentle care that God, in the persons of all three, extended to Mac in the movie is only a small physical manifestation of the care that God actually directs toward each one of us. God is especially fond of you…. and me.
Starting from this deep understanding of the love of God, it becomes easier to want to do the “right” thing. And for Mac it was letting go of judgment. And by letting go of judgment, he was also able to forgive. To forgive in the same way as we pray the Lord’s prayer. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. I think perhaps that judgment is a shortfall we all have experienced.
In the movie when Mac met Wisdom in the cave, he faced judgment square in the face…. that by judging we are assuming the role of God…. and when he realized that judging was not a role he really wanted to play, he let it go. It was then that he saw Missy in heaven, romping in the field with other children and playing with Jesus. And then the water fall drenched him…. the spirit of the living God poured over him in unending waves. It was as if he was experiencing baptism in his whole being. He was freed. He was able to love. In loving we experience joy. That is what God wants for us.
It is amazing to me to see how easily judgment begets anger and unforgiveness. And this anger and unforgiveness becomes a “beam in our eye”. And sometimes that beam becomes two beams and then three until we have walled ourselves in and shut out the world and all creation. Only when the beam is removed are we freed to love, to experience joy, to commune with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Near the end of the movie, Mac was sitting in the living room with all three. It was very comfortable for him. It was a moment when he was in unity with them. Who wouldn’t want to tarry a bit more? But he had to choose at that moment, to stay or to go back to his earthly life and his family. He saw that Kate especially needed him and he said yes to going back. But now he knew that God would be at his side, just as he always had been. The wall had been torn down.
Mac was transformed. And now the love he experienced was welling up inside him. It wells up inside of us too, and the joy overflows…. and so we put our light on the stand so that it shines forth to all the world. It becomes a beacon of hope to all who see. And with the beam removed from our eyes, we can see the hurt in others… the guilt, the pain. And tenderly we can wipe their tears, hug them and love them. And thus the healing power that Jesus displayed during his time on earth continues to go forth to all nations. Mac desired to be healed from judging both himself and others. And with that release, the letting go, he was free to live in the joy and love and peace of the moment. He was free to spread the healing power of Jesus to Kate and others. And so along with the knowledge that God is especially fond of ….., you, me, we too are free to spread the love of God to heal the world.
~ Johanna Durrett