A friend who belongs to another denomination loaned me this book. Her church is encouraging reading it and having “book club discussions” around it, so I thought I would do a review.
I had mixed feelings as I read through this book. The conclusions it comes to are certainly good:
- Treat people as people, not objects
- Get out of the box of justifying oneself by blaming others, feeling superior to others, or needing to look good to others all the time
- Build strong relationships with those with whom we have conflicts
- Teach and communicate, listen and learn
- Remember you cannot change others until you change yourself
- Take action to and do the things we feel drawn toward when we are thinking outside of our box of blaming, categorizing people, justifying ourselves, etc.
In following these behaviors, you will gain a heart of peace within yourself and will become peaceful toward others.
All worthwhile stuff, right? However, the right conclusions are reached for all the wrong reasons. According to this book, when we treat others badly, this is an act of self-betrayal — implying that we are basically good people at heart. WRONG! We are basically sinful, and I don’t think we can rely upon our inner feelings to tell us what is the right thing to do. We need God’s word for that. The book then goes on to say when we betray ourselves, our behavior becomes “crooked.” Again WRONG! The correct word would be sinful. We then need to justify ourselves by blaming, demonizing, etc.. The correct way to fix our “crooked” thinking is instead to get outside of the box we have made and see people as people, not objects. WRONG! We cannot justify ourselves by any psychological maneuver or corrected thinking on our own — we need a Savior.
Conclusion: I would not use this book, certainly not at my church, because it does not have a saintly worldview (I talked about this in a prior post). What do others think? Does the conclusion take precedence over the premises and reasoning? I’d like to hear some other opinions. I want to listen and learn.