The reality of human brokenness is constantly making itself known. There are no perfect relationships, no lives without pain, no one without a past. Paul Tripp addresses these themes in Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, and offers biblically sound advice for accomplishing change in ourselves as well as guiding others toward transformation. While we all want things to get better without doing any work, Tripp demonstrates the sinfulness of such an attitude and provides a firm but gentle alternative in the form of active service.
This isn't for professional counselors or pastors, it's an instruction manual of sorts for laypeople, offering guidelines for interpersonal ministry that maintains doctrinal integrity without alienating hurting brothers and sisters. The fundamental problem, he asserts, is sin, and only by recognizing its cancerous nature can we properly turn our attention to excising it. He offers a four-step process of love/know/speak/do to give readers a sense of how to approach counseling and interpersonal ministry.
Tripp explores everything from how to get to know people, to experiencing genuine empathy, to knowing how to speak the often harsh truth as gently as possible. A number of appendices walk would-be counselors through the "data gathering" process—finding out what is at stake and why people are hurting—as well as designing and assigning homework for counselees. This is an intensely practical manual, though all of Tripp's advice is founded on biblical precepts which he references again and again throughout the text.
Without love, any ministry we attempt is not true ministry. Only a desire to see our Christian brothers and sisters healthy and free in Christ can serve as a proper impetus for helping them. But we can't stop there—we have to really get to know those with needs, to identify with their pain and understand the best approach for leading them out of it, to speak the truth in love, and then to show we mean all these things by proper action. Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands doesn't have easy answers, but it does have biblical ones, the only ones that matter when it comes to preserving the life of the Church.
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