Q & A for Kim Cash Tate, Author of Cherished
Q: Cherished centers around the theme of forgiveness—forgiveness for ourselves and for others. Why do you believe forgiveness has such a great impact on our lives?
Forgiveness has a great impact on our lives because it’s freeing. Prior to forgiving ourselves or others, we’re bound by whatever the thing is that we’re holding onto. With regard to others, we may feel that we have a right to hold onto the offense committed against us. We may even relish holding onto it. But in reality, it’s a prison of bitterness. With regard to ourselves, it’s painful to think you can never get beyond the shame of what you’ve done. But the Lord offers us freedom from the weight of sin through forgiveness. And when we forgive ourselves and others, we experience that same sense of freedom. We’re able to truly put the past behind us and walk in the newness of what’s ahead. Forgiveness has a great impact on our lives because we become more like Christ when we forgive.
Q: In your novel, you look at your characters’ dreams for their futures. Some of those dreams are given up only to be returned to them later. Other times, God changes the heart of the dreamer. How do you think God can change our perspective as we grow to know Him?
God is certainly in the business of changing perspective. He totally changed my perspective as I grew to know Him. He does it by aligning our hearts and minds with Him and His Word. Often, our view is skewed by our own desires, our own thoughts as to our purpose in life, our own limitations as to what we think is possible, or even the thoughts, plans, and ideas that others, such as our parents, may have instilled in us. But God has a purpose for us that He worked out before the foundation of the world, and as we grow to know Him, He reveals it to us.
Q: Your novels do not take away the consequences of the sins committed by your characters, yet your readers are able to see God’s remarkable restoration. Do you believe that God can use anyone to bring Him glory—no matter what sins they have committed in their pasts?
God can absolutely use anyone to bring Him glory, especially those who’ve committed the “greater sins.” His work in the human heart is an absolute miracle. I know how far I lived from God. I wasn’t thinking about God or how I could please Him. I was dead in my sins, as Ephesians tells us. And yet, He saved me and made me alive through Christ. He made me a new creation. When a life is changed through Christ, that brings God glory. For some, there’s a dramatic change. Perhaps the sin was so public or so dark or so heinous that people thought there was no hope for the individual. But that person can be forgiven and changed like everyone else, and the glory belongs to God.
Q: One of your characters has an affair with a married man in the church. Why do you think it was difficult for Christians in the church to view her as changed and to forgive her?
We have our own ideas as to which sins are greater and which are lesser. The sin of adultery tends to be viewed as one of the greater sins, and if someone is “the other woman,” it’s hard to forgive the pain and hardship she had a hand in inflicting on the marriage. If we forgive her, we may feel that we’ve betrayed the wife. Or we may feel that we’re ignoring the seriousness of what occurred. But all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. There’s not one of us who has the right to decide that someone’s sin is outside the realm of forgiveness. Thank God! What an awesome God who freely forgives and casts our sins as far as the east is from the west. He’s much freer with forgiveness than we are.
Q: Kelli hid the sin she had committed from her entire family and shouldered her guilt alone as so many Christians do. What freedom do you think is experienced from bringing our mistakes out into the open?
When we keep the sin hidden, it holds power over us. She had already asked God’s forgiveness, but it still loomed large in her eyes. The shame loomed large, and it accused her. It also weighed on her. The enemy can do a lot of damage when we struggle alone. But when we bring it out in the open, there’s freedom in gaining the support we didn’t think we’d have. There’s freedom in gaining counsel. There’s freedom when others share truth with us from God’s Word to erase the lies the enemy told us when we were alone. Often, when we bring things out in the open, we find out that others we know have struggled with the same thing. We were meant to dwell together as a body, to support, encourage, and love on each other. There’s immense freedom in operating as a body.
Q: Do you believe that there is anything we can do to earn God’s love and forgiveness or anything we can do to lose it? Does He truly cherish us?
There is nothing we could possibly do to earn God’s love and forgiveness. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). There is nothing good that dwells in us (Romans 7:18). We were dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the prince of the power of the air when God, “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4), made us alive together with Christ. It is “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God, because of His grace and mercy, grants His love and forgiveness freely. And just as we cannot earn His love and forgiveness, we cannot lose it. In terms of forgiveness, those sins are cast away as far as the east is from the west. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And in terms of His love: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). That is some serious CHERISHING!
Q: What is the purpose of the ministry you founded—Colored in Christ?
The purpose of the ministry is to encourage people to color their lives with the perspective of Christ. Our lives shouldn’t reflect Christ on Sunday morning only. Our entire lives, minds, and perspectives should be transformed by the power of Christ. If we filter all of life through that Christ-lens, we will glorify God and fulfill our purpose on the earth.
Q: What would you like your readers to take away from reading Cherished?
I would love for readers to walk away from Cherished with a freeing picture of God’s unconditional love for them, no matter what they’ve done or where they’ve been. I want them to know that God can still use them, that He wants to use them, as a marvelous trophy of His grace.
“Tate’s amazing ability to connect with the reader on both personal and spiritual levels elevates this novel far above the rest. Those looking for hope and encouragement will find it on the pages of this superb book.”
~ Romantic Times Magazine review of Cherished