The book The Art of Forgiving by Lewis Smedes had a big impact on my life and that impact is reflected in two of the songs on How To Be Loved. One of those is in the second verse of Love Your Neighbor. But the second is in a song called Letting Go. In his book, Smedes looks at the original Greek word that we translate as “forgive”.
“From an etymological perspective, the concept of forgiveness is derived from the Greek word aphesis, which has been variously interpreted as meaning “to release,” “to set free,” or “to let go.””
So forgiving is an act of setting free. But Smedes points out that the person who is being freed is really the one forgiving. They are releasing the hold this pain has had on them.
The more time I spent with this idea, the more it seemed to apply to my life. Not just to areas where I needed to forgive others, but also to many areas where I was holding on to something in the past. Most of the time it was something negative. I always remember the mistakes I’ve made. I always remember the names I was called. I always remember the criticism I’ve received. And I completely disregard most positive things.
And so I pulled out another amazing old hymn, this time I Surrender All. And I decided to turn those negative things over to Christ. Let Him take care of my past mistakes. There is nothing I can do about them anyway. But there is a great deal He can do.
This was a very personal song that I almost didn’t even turn in for the record. But I did, still assuming it wouldn’t end up on the final songlist. But my producer Paul Ebersold came in day one and talked about how these same ideas had really resonated with him. He really breathed life into this song. It is so much stronger than I ever dreamed it would be. Then Ellie Holcomb came in and sang on it as well. Which I admit, is totally cheating. She was amazing. You’ll just have to hear it for yourself.
And right now, you can get a free download before the record comes out thanks to my friends at New Release Tuesday. So here you go.