The message is nothing new in faith-based music, but for Hammitt it became a new revelation, especially in the months leading up to the recording of the album. The short of it:  he had a serious beef with someone in his inner circle, and he couldn’t muster up the courage to confront the person. Once he finally did and things got resolved, he wrote the album’s title track. Even so, words fail as he tries to relate the experience.

“There are a couple of people in particular that I work with…” Hammitt’s voice trails off. “When you’re on the road…” Once again, he leaves the thought unfinished. “It’s hard for me to say, because I don’t even know if the person knows that I wrote the song while thinking of them.”

In fact, when asked about whom he forgave or the particulars of his conflict, Hammitt measures his words carefully. He’s reluctant to delve into specifics or to name names—apparently the flurry of emotions tied to the whole situation is too painful to recount.

Regardless, he proceeds the best way he can:  “There were certain things that hurt my feelings, certain things that made me upset—that were said or done—that were never resolved, never talked about,” Hammitt says, now with more resolve in his tone. “It really got to the point where it made me sick to my stomach sometimes when I was around certain people. I didn’t want to deal with them. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had bitterness going on in my heart.”

Hammitt was not alright. Broken inside, he nurtured those feelings “for months, maybe about a year.” It got to the point where Hammitt felt so powerless, he broke down:  “I remember just weeping, feeling like a failure, just laying there, not knowing what to do because I had harbored [those feelings] for so long. I remember at that point realizing, ‘My gosh, you’re way too far.’”

The demon of discord haunted him for so long, Hammitt says it’s only God’s unmerited favor that helped him maintain his composure as he toured, met fans and ministered day after day. “I don’t know how I kept my sanity. You just have to pray for grace. God has a way of using people who are broken. This is crazy, but sometimes I think God used me in very unique ways when I have been broken.”

Just as Hammitt was about to explode, he took the higher road and decided, on a hot summer day after a show, to have the oft-put-off one-on-one. “We sat down in a room and I said, ‘Look, I’m literally at a point where I’m having a hard time being in a room with you,’” Hammitt says.

“It was a matter of me having to say, ‘Hey, bro, I love you enough to be honest with you and to tell you that here’s the thing that I see in your life that is making you completely unhappy and that is causing me to have to deal with it.’”

Hammitt says he was “honestly” (that word again) expecting a fight. But the opposite happened: “It wasn’t at all. I was received in complete humility and graciousness. It had God’s hand all over it. It was a really open, clear, honest talk. It was really great.”

The conversation’s epilogue, as told to this writer, was the best part.

“At the end of the day, I want the most important thing in my life to be my friends and my family,” Hammitt says. “I want to invest more in terms of relationships. Business doesn’t matter. The band doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, when it’s all over, all we’re going to have is each other. I don’t want you or me to leave this alone, to leave this not as friends. I want you to be a part of my family, and I want to be a part of your family. Years from now, when all of this is over, we’re going to call each other, and I want to sit around and talk about the good old days. And I still want to have you.”

If that’s not the face of love—or at least a glimpse of what that face looks like—then I don’t know what is.



© 2008 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.  




**This interview first published on April 23, 2008.