In The Bride(zilla) of Christ, Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin hope to encourage those who have either wounded others or have been wounded by others in the church community to not give up on the bride of Christ. The authors begin the book by sharing their own experiences of hurt and pain providing readers with a very intimate look at the extensive impact of hurtful words and actions in a variety of different settings. Although church is the last place we would expect to be hurt, it happens much more often than we realize. The reason is that even though we are redeemed through Christ, the sinful nature within us still wages war against us daily. In the second half of the book, Kluck and Martin move on to discuss how Christians are to approach this difficult issue with repentance, forgiveness, and love. The authors point out that we often expect others to be holy when we ourselves are still fairly immature in our own pursuit of holiness. Furthermore, it is precisely within the church that God has placed us to progress in greater holiness. As those who have experienced forgiveness and grace, we should be quick to dispense forgiveness as we have also been forgiven much in Christ. Because of this shared identity and future hope, we must work together to preserve the unity of the church instead of insisting on getting our own way. Thus, the authors urge readers to take the initiative in asking and giving forgiveness whenever there has been dispute or disagreement instead of waiting for the other party to begin the process of reconciliation. In the last section, we are reminded that true unity and harmony will only occur when we are joined together once again in eternity with Christ. We should not distance ourselves from the body of Christ but understand that Christ is continually transforming the church to become His holy and perfect bride. Readers will find the book’s content engaging although the writing style and tone is sometimes disorienting as some chapters are split between the voices of both authors. However, I applaud both authors for being fairly forthcoming in sharing their own stories of hurt. The advice and counsel presented may be difficult to practice but the unity of the church is at stake and we have the duty to preserve it.
I would recommend this book to all Christians as we all have undoubtedly either experienced or dispensed hurt to our brothers and sisters in Christ. One section in the book that left a deep impression was the discussion on mending relationships that have been broken. The authors admit that there are situations in which the other party may withhold forgiveness temporarily or perhaps not forgive at all due to the intensity of the pain and hurt experienced. In such cases, we should ensure that we have first repented to God who is always willing to forgive and restore us. While we cannot force the other party to forgive, we can pray for the offended individual to eventually one day experience the grace to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit. The aftermath of our sinful actions often have long-lasting repercussions but we know that we are accepted in Christ and look forward to the day where He will restore all things. May we always be reminded of the forgiveness and love that we have experienced in Christ as we strive to exhibit the same to those around us.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from The Crown Publishing Group in exchange for a book review.