I made a list of things I intended to do after I quit my job in December of ’06 (and moved half-way across the U.S. to do this Army wife gig). Some things on my list were things I totally stink at and deeply desire to improve upon, some were things I love to do that I’ve had to set aside for other things, and some are things I’ve always wanted to do and just never had the guts or the time to pursue.
One of those things I’ve set aside that I love to do is read. That may sound dumb, but I feel like in our technological age that I can’t keep up with all that is changing and moving. There’s always a book about doing it better; no matter what “it” happens to be. But reading is one way that I can feel connected with the world and somehow even connect myself better to interact with the world around me.
In light of all that, the latest book I read (which I finished almost 2 months ago now!) was Bold Love by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III. I have to say that Dan Allender is a favorite author. Mostly for the stories I’ve heard about him from people I know and love. He’s such a zinger of a guy! I have met him-once-and I have his autograph. Not that it matters, I just think he is an interesting and zinger-like person. I like zinger people :).
Bold Love is a book I’ve had for a long time (I think 2 years on my book shelf) but avoided because I think intrinsically I knew it would call me out on some things in my life/character. The front page of the book summarizes what it is all about:
“know the difference between loving an evil person, a fool, and a normal sinner, what it means to “honor” a wicked parent, why anger usually outlives forgiveness, how to love an abusive person without opening yourself up to more damage and how a passion for revenge can work on love’s behalf.”
It sounds awful-right? I wish I could say how great this book was though. I fumble for the words that will do it justice. In the beginning, I felt like Bold Love was a terrible title for the book. It should have been something referencing the powerful force of hope in our lives and in our hearts. And hope is an important part of it all. But Allender takes you through some deep and beautiful places-there’s even a section about Heaven and what your view of it is and how that affects your every-day decision to love or not to love. He digs right in to the core of your heart and has you look at how you treat other people.
I think he says it better than I could, so here’s a few quotes from various parts of the book. I’d say these were 3 of the most powerful that stuck out (though there are many more):
“Bold love is the tenacious, irrepressible energy to do good in order to surprise and conquer evil.”
“I can offer to others only what I have experienced.” (looking at Luke 7:41-43)
“The task of growth is to pursue an unflinching honesty about self, world, and God, no matter what the results compel us to face or give up.”
By the end of the book I was seriously asking myself, “do I do good?” Not AM I good or am I a good person. But do I DO good, create good, seek to see good done to others and seek to see good done in daily life and trials. Am I a warrior for goodness? Do I love boldly?
This book wasn’t just a book, it was a journey. A very beautiful journey. If you are looking to open your heart up and take a glimpse at the way you love others, this is a great book. True, Allender is concerned about equipping Believers with the how-to of loving those who are harmful. But he starts by having you look at yourself. I think I realized in a new way that only by looking at how sinful my own heart is am I able to have compassion for the sinfullness of another’s heart.