On the heels of a successful acting and singing career, Nikki R. Miller, founder of NRM Faith Based Films, has recently released her latest creation, Change of Heart. This project is the novelization of a forthcoming movie from her film company.
Change of Heart tells the story of a man named Calvin Hardy Jr. who has lived the majority of his life in a state of perpetual unforgiveness. It begins with the devastating childhood experience of catching his own father, a church deacon, cheating on his mother. This experience sends Calvin down a dark path of resentment toward his father and the church, which in his mind becomes a symbol of hypocrisy.
Decades later, Calvin grows up to be a successful business man with a loving wife and three children. However, a series of poor choices and tempting encounters places his family’s harmony at risk. After a tragic event occurs Calvin begins to realize the perils a life of resentment can bring, and the power a forgiving heart turned toward God can have, even in the midst of devastating circumstances.
The novel takes on some very weighty but timely issues impacting many families in our society and attempts to help the reader view them from a very human but godly perspective. These issues include adultery, broken homes, godly fatherhood, child abuse/molestation and, of course, forgiveness. One particular plot twist does an excellent job of illustrating the importance of men being in place to guard and protect their homes as a part of their God-given roles as husbands and fathers. The novel also touches on how the first step for a person to give forgiveness is to realize how much they’re in need of receiving forgiveness themselves.
With a theme like forgiveness, it was a little disappointing not to see more precise references to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The novel seems to assume that its already understood that the greatest forgiveness story ever known is Jesus taking on our sins, and dying in our place to pay the penalty for them. There is also an issue of an unequally yoked marriage that is never addressed in the book. Lastly, the story reads a lot like a screenplay. The robust description about the look of people and places that are probably very beneficial for preparing a film proved to be very distracting when reading as a novel.
Change of Heart is a story of redemption and renewal for those that experience deep hurt at the hands of those they are closest to. It takes on weighty subjects that are top-of-mind in today’s families, in and out of the church. While the text is not heavy in scripture nor doctrine, the central theme conveys a clear message about the importance of faith in God and forgiveness given to and received from others. It will be very interesting to see this story when it comes to the big screen.
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