Trust and Forgiveness, Life Lessons From ‘The Shack’

‘The Shack’, is an amazing movie on trust and forgiveness. It’s adapted from the book The Shack written by William P. Young.

Following the murder of his youngest daughter Missy. Mac, a man that is suffering from grief and turmoil. Spends a weekend in a Shack with Papa (God), where he goes through a life-changing journey.  A beautiful message of redemption, it involves finding forgiveness through pain. Trusting that what hurts us the most will somehow work out for our greater good.

The aim of this story is to draw the human spirit back into uncertainty, which is why I love it so much. Uncertainty is where our soul can heal.

Like Mac, our holding on to the pains of the past can prevent us from moving forward.  But when we are willing to release our burdens to Papa. We become open to experiencing the joys that are in front of us. As well as seeing the greater picture that is ahead of us.

And although we may never get the luxury of spending a weekend in a Shack to deal with our personal grief.  Here are some takeaways from the story about trust and forgiveness I’ve learned, that may help you get through your pain.

This is your flying lesson '-Papa
A beautiful story of redemption. Here are life lessons from ‘The Shack’ story

1. Forgiveness is to release self-judgement

Part of Mac’s grief stemmed from the belief that he failed himself as a father. That it was his fault that he couldn’t save his daughter. During his visit with Wisdom, Mac learns of Missy’s unconditional love for him. Leading him to realize, that by holding on to the pain of something he could not control. He was blocking himself from receiving his daughter’s love. It opened him to have acceptance for what happened, and allowed him to let go of his self-judgement.

We don’t know why or how some things happen the way that they do. To think of ways we could have done a situation differently only keeps us stuck in the past and blocks ourselves from moving forward.  It’s only once we accept that some things are out of our control. Do we release the self-blame and allow ourselves to heal.

2. Trust that you don’t need to face your pain alone

There is a scene in both the book and movie where Mac tries to walk on water, but is clearly sinking. To which, Jesus pulls him up and says “This always works better when we do it together, don’t you think?” For the first time, we see Mac beginning to accept the help from another person. More importantly, a higher power. Up until that point he blamed Papa for all that happened to him, containing the pain just to himself. But once he allowed himself to receive help. He realized the strength of being able to share the pain with someone who would carry him through it.

In our lives, when it comes to grief and pain there’s no way over it. We can only go through it.  The pain becomes bearable and lighter once we begin to share it with someone that is willing to be with us every step of the way. It can come through our friends and loved ones that are tangible, but there is no greater strength than that of a higher one.

3. All pain can be forgiven

Growing up, Mac had an abusive relationship with his father. In a scene from the movie, Young Mac is beaten by his father throughout the night.  Shortly after, he runs away, but not before placing rat poison in all his father’s alcohol.  Whom passes away because of it. In an emotional scene later on, through the help of Sarayu (Holy Spirit), Grown-Up Mac is able to see his father.  Where they both forgive each other for what had happened long ago.

No matter what happened to us in our lives. Whether we’ve been abused or caused harm to another. There is healing and redemption available to us-if we want it . All pain, including the ones we cause to others, is redeemable.

4. Forgiveness is a daily practice

Mac’s final lesson was to forgive his daughter’s killer. Though he was able to say ‘I forgive you’, the resentment hadn’t gone away. Papa let him know, that forgiveness is never easy.  But the more you constantly try, the easier it gets.

Forgiveness is a constant practice. When we say ‘I forgive you’ to someone, the anger and resentment of what they did doesn’t magically go away. To truly forgive someone takes a consistent and conscious effort. We have to affirm forgiveness daily towards that person, in time we will feel the burden lift.

5. Trust in our relationship to Papa

In the story, Mac is so succumb to the tragedy, that it keeps him from recognizing the pain that his other daughter, Kate, is going through. Who also blames herself for what had happened. Through Papa, Mac learns to allow Papa’s goodness to work through his tragedy. Opening his eyes as well to helping his daughter cope with her internal struggle.

At the end of our lives, it’s our relationships that matters the most.  Whenever we experience tragedy or hurt, it can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we can be so en-wrapped in our pain that it affects our relationships with the ones we love. Even losing trust in Papa. Like Mac, there are some things in life that we can’t understand just yet. But when we allow forgiveness to enter our lives, it allows Papa not only to heal us, but to work his goodness through our tragedy. And when we trust that things will work out. In time, they always do.

Trust and Forgiveness in closing

The Shack in this story represents Mac’s deepest pain. Through his trust and understanding in Papa, Mac is able to eventually forgive the man that caused his sadness. Who was the actual source of his pain. And in turn, reclaim the joy within his own family.

In order for forgiveness to flow, we must be willing to go back to our own Shacks- to face our pain. Trusting that in time and in relationship to our own Papa (whomever that may be) that things will work out for us.

The pains that we go through eat at us the longer we hold onto it, and it’s this difficulty of letting go that keeps us from moving forward.

Trust that your pain is temporary and that through every step of the way there is a Papa bearing it with you. Allow him to work through you, and in time you’ll be able to move forward with trust and forgiveness.

With Love,

Any other life lessons you may have gained from the story? I would love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment in the box below. If you like what you read feel free to subscribe for more feel-good content.

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