A Christian self-help book that urges readers to find relief from guilt in the loving forgiveness of God.
Jeffrey (When the Brook Dries Up, 2013) spent 15 years as a volunteer for a prison fellowship ministries program, a position in which she often witnessed others going through the corrosive pain of remorse. This spiritual manual is designed to teach her fellow Christians how to seek deliverance from missteps, and how to reconcile themselves to their imperfect natures. “The central theme of this book,” she writes, “is that God, through Christ Jesus, opened up a way whereby all believers can live abundantly and joyously, free from guilt and shame.” Much of the book offers a kind of theological anthropology that dissects the ways in which human beings instinctively avoid blame, but then suffer under the crushing weight of the ensuing guilt. Jeffrey contends that all human beings are special and unique, and generally meant to perform good works on earth. However, she also notes that people are also mortal and thus unavoidably imperfect and prone to moral error. The good news, she says, is that one can get a reprieve from one’s regrets if one turns to God for absolution, and that one may also find reassurance in the deathlessness of one’s soul. The author contends that one’s ultimate freedom is found in submission to a higher authority, and that no one can find peace without divine assistance. Overall, Jeffrey writes with great clarity and sympathy, and refreshingly avoids the kind of “doom and damnation” sermonizing that she believes dispirits well-intentioned Christians. Her scriptural erudition is obvious but unpretentiously displayed; she often draws upon her own experiences to illustrate her points, and she’s just as quick to make a reference to a popular TV show (such as OWN’s Oprah: Where Are They Now?), as she is to a biblical reading. She also helpfully includes work sheets with discussion questions for each chapter. Of course, this book won’t appeal to non-Christians, and even some believers may not find much appeal in an extended discussion of Satan’s interference in people’s lives as a “prowler on the loose.” However, the author’s lessons are skillfully crafted and impressively combine biblical knowledge with common-sense reflections on quotidian experience.
A helpful guide for Christians who struggle with regret.