Scott Stapp is experiencing something he never knew in his years atop the music world as the lyricist and lead singer for Creed. For all the fervent fan loyalty he and his band mates inspired, for all the millions of unit sales for the band’s five albums, including a greatest hits collection, that continue to this day, along with his impactful solo endeavors, critical acclaim has not been greatly targeted at or by the composer.
Reviews for his memoir, Sinner’s Creed, widely released Oct. 2, have reflected a welcome that record industry critics seldom held, one noting it as “the best book I have personally read in 2012,” and another contrasting Stapp’s journey with that of Bono, and compared him to Johnny Cash in the authenticity of his love for both God and his music, all the while confronting the alluring addictions that are part of his career, which is for him, much more a calling. As incredible as his boldness is in sharing the ride to fame and the many falls that led only to false bottoms before his transformational surrender to faith and truth, perhaps even more powerful is the palpable force of forgiveness through his words.
Much of the dilemma the young man Scott Stapp confronted daily was derived from his distorted relationship with his stepfather, who “courted” his enamored future son as much as he did his future wife, but convoluted love and punishment so inextricably that no comfort in God could ever be fathomed after the example of a parent who declared “God created hell because he loves us, if I give you hell, it’s because I love you.” No extension of grace meant a world of extremes for Stapp, and those manifestations persisted throughout the rise to unbelievable heights in the music world, and even after a truly divine intervention arrived in the form of Scott’s wife, Jaclyn, into his life. It was the stalwart, saving devotion of their union and family that led to a genuine “coming to Jesus” and realizing the truth of his love, as well as the truths of addiction at the Betty Ford Center last year. The memoir sprung out of seeing living lessons and forgiveness through every time that could have become death for the artist, and the cathartic within to “seek forgiveness and make amends.” “The irony is that I love Steve [his stepfather],” Stapp explains, grateful for the Scriptural foundation embedded by whatever means, saying his hope is that the book becomes “a catalyst to healing.”
Stapp’s public professions of faith and a past of unreliability have been sticking points for his band, but maturity and a large measure of forgiveness there, too, has allowed the lead singer-songwriter to see even their shun of him as “God’s will,” before their 2009 reunion, affirming that it was all part of getting to the place he is in today. “God put me with these guys for a reason. I hope my life and testimony will speak to them.”
Every person of faith is a sinner forgiven, on a daily, moment to moment, breath by breath basis, and forgiving one’s past is perhaps the hardest forgiveness to find, and is usually a lifelong process. This is an artist who has come to purpose in his journey, hoping to extend emotional hands of help through his words. “All I know is that as long as I do what it takes every day and surrender myself to God, I’ll be OK,” stands as a daily declaration, and finding that purpose is probably the reason any person is granted divine forgiveness.