2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A painful but outstanding read,
This review is from: RELATIONSHIPS A MESS WORTH MAKING (Paperback)
How should you react when the people you meet at work, live near, and love cause you pain? What about when you cause them pain? How should you view your best relationships?
Are you someone who withdraws from close relationship because you want to feel safe, or who throws yourself into close relationship because you can't live without it?
Did you know that difficult relationships are not a curse but a blessing?
That's not what you'd expect the Bible to teach, especially when Genesis 3-4 tells us that broken relationships are caused by our sinfulness.
Well questions like that, and surprising answers like that, are found in this excellent book from the CCEF stable.
The big take home message of the book is obvious from the title of the book: relationships will always be difficult because of our sinfulness, but it is precisely through sin-filled relationship that our God plans to change us to make us more like him. Therefore we must see them as worth all the hard work. As the book puts it "God keeps us in messy relationships for his redemptive purpose .... A difficult relationship is a mark of his love and care" (p12).
Having established that, the authors are brilliant at exposing the different ways in which we fight against that truth: how we twist the fact that relationships ought to be all about Him and instead make them all about us; how different types of sin show themselves in different ways.
These were painful sections to read because they revealed so much sin in our hearts, but along with the section on forgiveness, were in my view worth the price of the book on their own, especially since the authors so clearly point to the gospel as the only hope amidst all this sin!
So we must throw ourselves into relationship with one another, anticipating pains and difficulty and the exposing of our wickedness, but being prepared to endure those things for the sake of pointing one another to Christ and depending on him for his transforming power.
A couple of other quotes to give you a flavour:
"Christ is the only real hope for relationships because only he can dig deep enough to address the core motivations and desires of our hearts." p11
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." - quoting C.S. Lewis, p89.