Bart Millard, lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band MercyMe, is more passionate than ever about the message of God’s grace. But to discover this newfound vigor, he had to confront the shame, hurt, and anxiety in his own life. In his new book with Andrew Farley, The Hurt and the Healer, Millard explores the radical freedom that comes when we accept Christ’s work on the cross and begin to live without shame. Here, we discuss his journey and the truths he believes can help free us all from life’s deepest hurts.
JM: In The Hurt & The Healer you say that “our identity is not our shame.” Can you unpack that for us?
BM: I preached for years that you can’t earn God’s favor. But for whatever reason, it was all so robotic for me, and all I was really trying to do was earn it. I was doing everything that religion told me to do. I was trying to get a high score. But no matter how many records were sold or people were impacted, I didn’t seem to feel like I was inching closer to God. And, meanwhile, my family life was hanging by a thread. Sure, I would have told you that I was trusting Jesus for salvation and heaven, but the reality was that I was still working overtime to gain God’s approval on a daily basis!
Essentially, my identity was completely MercyMe. Then, I began to realize that the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me.
JM: What does it look like on the ground, in daily life?