I’ve really enjoyed reading through the book “Unconditional?”! It’s been a challenging book for us and for any Christian. Because we do book series every so often I wanted to give you my thoughts on this book. Just because we look at a book and go through it on Sunday’s doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything in it.
While I am largely impressed with the book there were a couple of things that jumped out to me that I didn’t necessarily agree with. So here’s a dozen quick thoughts on the book…I’d love for you to post your opinion:
1. I thought the opening chapters of this book were some of the most compelling that I’ve read in a long time. His use of real stories that asked the question of the possiblity of forgiveness challenges everyone who reads.
2. I think the opening 6 chapters of the book were great. Chapters 7-10 I felt like it lost a lot of steam as there were less stories and more opinions of his.
3. My favorite modern story of his was in Chapter 5 with the Amish group that forgave the gunmen and was so welcoming and accepting of the gunman’s family.
4. I believe that he is very biblical when it comes to how we are to be a forgiving people and even to love our enemies. I think it was insightful when he tells us that enemies can sometimes point out truths about us that our friends wouldn’t or couldn’t.
5. I don’t think he deals with the pain/severity of sin. There is always a consequence to sin. And I feel like this was glossed over in the book.
6. He doesn’t deal with an unrepentant vs. a repentant sinner. If someone is repentant that means they turn from their sin. If unrepentant, they continue in a lifestyle or pattern of sin. Should our response be different if the person is unrepentant or repentant? This would have been a valuable discussion.
7. One of the functions of both God’s Law and our law today is to be a Curb (to curb our behavior). It works like this: “If I speed, I will get a ticket, therefore I don’t speed because I don’t want a ticket.” Just because we forgive doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for the person who committed that sin.
8. It’s okay to fight for what is right. I understand his point he was making in the Us. Vs. Them Chapter 7, but at times God calls us to defend the cause of the poor, the abused, the widow, etc. If people are deliberately sinning against another group of people, sometimes we have to step in and defend what we believe to be right, as long as it is in agreement with God’s Word.
9. He says “don’t take sides” but then appears to take a liberal viewpoint only bashing conservatives, especially in Chapter 7. I’m not saying anything negative about liberals or conservatives, simply saying that if he’s going to say not to take sides, he shouldn’t use examples and illustrations only benefitting one side over the other.
10. To me, it seems like he uses words like revenge and retaliation as synonyms to the word “justice.” I don’t think that’s fair.
11. In Chapter 8, I think it’s funny he says that churches don’t preach about the Sermon on the Mount because they are uncomfortable doing it. I actually think in large part he is right, but we just spent 20 weeks on that sermon series and in my opinion, I think it was probably the best series that we’ve done to date.
12. I love what he says about forgiveness: that it’s not an emotion, but an act of the will. He says it doesn’t mean we have to forget. It’s about seeking to end that cycle of revenge and entrust it into the hands of God, who we believe will enact better justice than we could. And his justice is all about the Cross and the forgiveness that he has won for us!