Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review: The Wall Around Your Heart

The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You. Mary DeMuth. 2013. Thomas Nelson. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

Looking for a book on The Lord's Prayer? Looking for a book on relationships, friendships, and being a part of the community? Looking for a book on forgiveness? Or how about just a good  Christ-exalting read? Pick up The Wall Around Your Heart. This one is an amazing read!

From the introduction:
In talking to friends in painful situations, I’ve discovered a pathway through the devastation. It’s not simple or simplistic, but it’s truthful. And it involves prayer. It’s the type of prayer that Jesus modeled, lived, breathed. Of all the people on this earth who had cause to wall off His heart against those who hurt Him (that would be the entire world), He had cause. And yet He loved people who ignored Him. He interacted with betrayers. He offered grace to those who violated His laws. He dignified outcasts. He engaged Himself in the very world that put Him to death. Jesus is our example of openhearted living, of exhibiting wild love that dared to wash the feet of Judas, who betrayed Him, of reinstating Peter, who denied Him thrice. Jesus, in His divine irresistibility, welcomed all, loved all, endured all. So when Jesus prayed, He gave His friends insight into how He walked so fully alive. Tucked within His prayer are secrets to withstanding conflict, letting go of turmoil, and seeing God in His proper light… We find solace and relief and help in the aftermath of painful relationships by following the road map of the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve heard the prayer a thousand upon a thousand times. We’ve memorized it. Recited it. Listened to it. Sung it. But have we considered the power of Jesus’ words in this prayer and how it perfectly relates to broken relationships, interpersonal hardship, or even abuse?
The framework of this book camps around the eleven phrases in this prayer. It represents everything I’ve learned in the past thirty years as a Jesus-loving disciple who makes every kind of relational mistake.
My heart for you in this journey we’ll be taking together is this: be loved. Be wildly and audaciously loved. Give what you receive. See others as Jesus sees you. Settle your worth. Rest in God’s compassion. And as you choose to believe His favor, your life won’t be able to help spilling love, compassion, and forgiveness to everyone you meet.
Chapter by chapter, DeMuth discusses the Lord's Prayer phrase by phrase. She keeps scripture central; she keeps Christ central. But she also pulls in stories: stories from her own life, stories from other people's lives. The book is relevant, oh-so-relevant. It speaks clearly to readers. It is a compelling read, very thought-provoking.

I loved how readable it is. For example, this is how the first chapter opens, JESUS STARTED HIS FAMOUS PRAYER WITH THREE WORDS: “PRAY like this.” Not gossip like this. Not tell everyone else the other person’s issues like this. Not stew on the issue until your heart embitters like this. Not grumble like this. Not avoid like this. “Pray like this.”

I also love how each chapter concludes with questions for readers.

We tend to wall off our hearts in the aftermath of pain. Praying this way is preventive; it prevents the walls before we take up bricks. Prayer is proactive, restorative, and rejuvenating. And it begins with Jesus—who He is.
WE’D AVOID A LOT OF INSECURITY IF WE FULLY, WHOLLY BELIEVED IN God’s wild affection for us. Once we’ve internalized that foundational truth, secure and loved, we begin to see that God also loves the people who have hurt us. But we cannot love our enemies until we see those twin truths: God loves me. God loves them.
If we love Jesus, we live as He did—engaging the very people who would crucify Him later. If we adore our Father, we give Him our bitterness, take the healing path He offers, and search for ways to reach out to others, even in our pain. If we love to make God’s name famous, we refrain from talk that denigrates others. If we revel in the God who made all of us, we don’t demonize people who differ from us. (Consider that every single person on this earth differs from God in every way, yet He loves us.)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: