The premise of William Smith’s latest book is a simple but profound one: We can only love others as well as we can receive and recognize Jesus’ love for us. The rest of the book is a matter of learning how to learn from Jesus, so that we can literally flesh out that premise.
In Smith’s own words, “[Y]ou’re more easily touched by someone else’s tears when you know your God is touched by yours.” This book helps us understand more deeply that what God feels for us is far beyond what we feel for others. As we receive that truth, we’re freed and emboldened to turn around and share that love with others.
The book’s 15 chapters are broken into three parts, Love That Responds to a Broken World (in the forms of comfort, sympathy, confession, forgiveness, and longsuffering love), Love That Reaches Out to Build Others Up (partnering, shepherding, communicating, serving, and meeting physical needs), and Love That Enjoys Heaven on Earth (welcoming, submitting, celebrating, living in harmony, and hospitality).
In each chapter Smith takes the same approach: He shows us how Jesus did it, then helps us see what that aspect of love looks like for us. Reflection questions are at the end of each chapter to help the reader go deeper.
Take the chapter on forgiving love. After walking us through our own sin in the garden, and the degree of God’s forgiveness toward us, Smith gives us this practical illustration on living it out:
“I have had countless conversations with my wife geared entirely toward this thought: how can I say this in the best way possible so that we don’t ever have this conversation again? I’ve tried the time-honored traditions of threatening my children so they don’t dare cross me or, when that hasn’t worked, the equally time-tested option of bribing them to leave me alone. With other people I’ve tried bullying or intimidating when I can get away with it, or ignoring and running away when I can’t. All of these approaches have one thing in common: they are strategies for making sure people won’t sin against me.”
And there’s more where that came from. So come and find it.