Book review: Relationships: a Mess Worth Making

To say that relationships are important is as masterful an understatement as to say that Leonardo da Vinci was good at colouring! In fact, relationships make up who we are.

I recently took the opportunity to pick up and read through a stunning book full of wisdom on the subject of relationships. The authors, Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, are two men who are thoroughly gospel-centred and show it in their writing. The book itself is very easy to read and hard to put down once started!

Ok, so there are loads and loads of books that are already out there about relationships, why on earth do we need another one? Well, the answer of the authors is that many other books look at ways to change your situation without changing yourself. I would also also add that though I have read many books about various aspects of relationship this book stands out clearly as being thoroughly gospel-saturated. The Bible is applied to relationships in a life giving (though uncomfortable!) way. If you read this book prepare for your emotions, responses, attitudes and heart to be searched. If you are anything like me you won’t like what you see but the beauty of the gospel, and this book, is that it doesn’t leave you there.

This book doesn’t promise to make your relationships easy but to helps you to understand them from God’s point of view.

Some nuggets:

“We all look for strategies of techniques that will free us from the pain of relationships and the hard work good relationships demand. We hope that better planning, more effective communication, clear role definitions, conflict resolution strategies, gender studies, and personality typing- to name just a few- will make the difference. There may be value in these things, but if they were all we needed, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection would be unnecessary or, at best, redundant.” (p11)

“If you wonder, ‘why bother?’ the answer is, “Because God did.” (p14)

“God has designed our relationships to function as both a diagnosis and a cure. When we are frustrated and ready to give up, God is at work, revealing the places where we have given in to a selfish agenda (the diagnosis). He then uses that new awareness to help us grow precisely where we have struggled (the cure).” (p49)

“Good relationships are rooted in identity and worship. Only when I remember who I am and worship God for who he is can I respond to you with patient, gentle, hopeful, and courageous love.” (p65)

Fact file:

Length: 188 pages
Publisher: New Growth Press
Authors: Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp
Price on Amazon: £7.00+P&P new.

Reviewed by Thomas van den Broek

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