A new film, titled "The Heart of Man," hits theaters for one night only on Sept. 14 and features The Shack author William Paul Young in a revealing documentary where he admits to being unfaithful to his wife and the effect it had on their marriage.
According to the film's description, "The Heart of Man" addresses sexual brokenness all the while tearing the veil of confusion over the church's current identity crisis.
The docudrama, presented by Sypher Studios in partnership with Fathom Events, features an array of people from different walks of life who have experienced God's grace after great brokenness and identity issues. The film shows interviews with Young, author Dr. Dan Allender (The Wounded Heart) and spoken word artist Jackie Hill Perry, among others.
"For the last 20 years I haven't had any secrets, so to be able to talk about my history and my life has actually opened up a whole bunch of conversation especially for those of us in the evangelical community where secrets and hiding seems to be part of what we bring to the table," New York Times bestselling author Young told The Christian Post.
The popular writer said that hiding one's faults and covering it up have not been helpful for personal growth and healing in the church.
"A lot of the folks that grew up the way I did — in a restrictive kind of evangelicalism — we didn't have any hope for real transformation. We didn't understand, because of our shame, that exposure was really the doorway through which healing and transformation would be possible."
As seen in "The Heart of Man," Young also explained that the only reason he came to that conclusion himself, was because he learned the hard way.
"For me and a bunch of us, we are so broken and so full of shame that we actually have to get caught," he openly shared. "I got caught in a three-month affair with one of my wife's best friends. That was the trigger point for 'either I have to find a way to get some help/change or kill myself.' That was the two options that were left for me."
In the compelling dramatized documentary, Young emotionally talks about his moment of weakness and where it led his marriage. He said it was pure desperation that drove him in the direction to get help.
Young told CP that therapy played a major part on the road of restoration for him and his wife. He called his therapist a "godsend."
"[Therapy] started a whole, long process — basically 11 years of dismantling everything and rebuilding," he explained.
Young went on to share about the great value of exposing things, rather than keeping them in the dark.
"We were never meant to have secrets," he asserted, citing the verse in Genesis when God confronts Adam and Eve for hiding their nakedness.
"We're designed to be naked and unashamed. That [means] exposed — live a life that's transparent and open. Our design is toward that kind of authenticity," the Canadian native noted. "God's not a cover-up. Read Genesis, everything's anti-cover-up. It's us who are all about covering up which drives us into aloneness. But God is all about presence and relationship, face to face."
"When you live a duplicitous life, there's so much anxiety and fear that comes along with that. You're always looking over your soldier and you're always wondering if you're gonna get caught. It's not a life that God could have ever intended for any of us," Young continued.
The novelist went on to say that the Holy Spirit also works on our behalf to bring things to the light.
"The Holy Spirit has come to convict the world, which includes me, of our brokenness. That word in the Greek is actually the word to expose," Young expounded. "Part of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to expose. The reason is that because only through exposure will there be the possibility of the healing of the heart. You can not heal something that is left in a locked closet in the inside house."
The 62-year-old used the metaphor of The Shack. Young wrote The Shack in 2007 and it was the top-selling fiction and audio book of 2008 in America. In March of this year, the book hit theaters as a film and exceeded box office expectations for its premier release. Although it was one of the best openings for a faith-based film, some in the Christian community spoke out against the film for what they viewed as a "heretical" portrayal of the Holy Trinity.
The author used his popular work to illustrate why many get trapped in secrecy as seen in "The Heart of Man."
"Hiding, lying, deception and shading the truth, all of those things are ways that we try to manage our shame, rather than bringing it to the light. We love the dark rather than the light because we're broken," he said.
Young revealed that turning toward the light, when someone is in darkness is always "excruciating" but assured that the result is worth it.
"You can't hide when you're in the light, and it has a huge impact to those in your life. I think that's what everybody's afraid of, they think that if they crack the door to the things they have to hide in their life that everything will absolutely be lost," he stated.
Although many in the Christian community have turned their back on Young, pegging him a universalist, the successful writer has received support from many others. That support system is what has kept him on the path to being free from lies and secrecy.
"As much as we'd like for God to heal us without anyone finding out about it, we're designed for community and it's not gonna happen alone," he maintained.
In "The Heart of Man," Young said once his wife Kim knew of his affair, he exposed everything to her. Leaving no stone of secrecy unturned, it helped their healing process.
"If you're ever gonna build trust, everything's got to be [laid out] in the open. You take the risk of losing the imagination of what you had and ... there's a timing and a process," he added. "For me, it was a very quick [process]. In the matter of four days, I just told Kim secrets that had been killing me my whole life."
Young admitted that it was really hard and it took years for him and his wife to heal but it was necessary. He maintained that even one sliver of secrecy can disrupt the well-being of a person.
"That's too complicated for me [now]. I'd rather live in the simplicity of authenticity and honesty."
Pointing out that old habits die hard, Young advised people who find themselves repeating the old behavior to expose it quickly and repent of those things. He said that is where a therapist or honest loved one can really help.
"If you keep secrets, you will just drive yourself more and more into isolation. Isolation begets isolation and lies beget lies and after a while it just feels like there's so much crap in the barn that you just can't take the risk of anyone finding out about it. You keep moving because you figure a moving target is harder to hit," he illustrated.
"There's a lot of ways we try to circumvent exposure but the work of the Holy Spirit is exposure."
Young believes that secrets and addictions really hurt those closest to them. However, the professing Christian said people in bondage do not have to do it alone.
"The active role of God is to pursue us in our darkness and be a light to us that exposes us," he said, claiming that God also sticks around through the journey of restoration.
"It's a process and it requires relationships. It's relationships we're scared of because we don't want to be exposed but God is a God who is a relational being and we're just dying to be relational," Young concluded.
Viewers can watch "The Heart of Man" in theaters for one day only on Sept 14. Audiences will also benefit from an exclusive roundtable conversation showcasing national thought leaders such as Pastor Chad Veach and Young, among others.
For more information on "The Heart Of Man," visit www.FathomEvents.com