Christians fighting against secret grievances can get help from the Scriptures and their faith, according to this debut devotional guide.
After feeling overwhelmed with her divinity studies, Saddler-Reed took a course on managing conflict. It inspired her to write a book for Christians who are battling negative thoughts and emotions regarding their faith—struggles that she says they often hide out of shame for not conforming to a steadfast or serene ideal. After the book’s acknowledgements and introduction—a sort of minitestimonial that’s also the longest section of the book—there are 25 devotions and a bibliography at the end (containing only one work, the King James Bible). The devotions describe conflicts within oneself, with others, and with God. Themes include “Conflict with Those of Like Faith,” “Impatience,” “Conflict in Marriage,” “Congregational Conflicts,” and “Bitterness.” Others are less specific, such as “Conflict in Life.” Each is short—most are two paragraphs long—and sandwiched between verses from Scripture, followed by two pages reserved for the reader: one labeled “Reflection” on which to jot down thoughts and feelings, and another labeled “Resolution.” Readers may use the “Resolution” page, Saddler-Reed says, “to see how God’s word can apply to the conflict(s) you may be experiencing in your life and what you can do to resolve these conflicts.” However, there’s no table of contents or index to help the reader find specific topics. Some conflicts are vague (“Victory in the Mist [sic] of Conflict”), and the advice is oddly terse. Saddler-Reed introduces important issues, such as discouragement from those one is trying to help, fear of aging, and how modern Christians can split hairs over religious practices, just as early Jewish and Gentile followers did. However, she rushes to reassure readers with examples from the Bible without adequately fleshing out how these verses apply to modern lives. Crucial advice regarding losing loved ones, for example, invokes Jesus without making him seem real, although Saddler-Reed constantly emphasizes a God of love.
Pat, underdeveloped Bible lessons that promise quick conflict resolutions.