Jess Thompson has written a book entitled Everyday Grace. We are thrilled for the opportunity to have her share with us a synopsis of the upcoming book and her personal thoughts on community. Thank you, Jess!
"It's hard, sometimes, to get over that thing your husband said weeks ago; or to resolve that tension with your colleague at work; or to fix a lifelong friendship that's taken a bad turn. The biggest problem with relationships is they always seem to involve sinners--including ourselves. So how can we form strong, resilient bonds with people who, like us, are bound to mess up?
Thankfully, it's not all on us. Through stories and biblical teaching, Jessica Thompson helps us move beyond trying to "fix" the people we interact with, and shows us a better way. Though our relationships may be marred by tension and frustration, because we are welcomed and known by Christ, they don't have to stay that way.”
What I did in the book is talk about all the ways God relates to us in human terms. He is our Father. Jesus calls us friend. Jesus is our brother. We are the bride of Christ. I take those relationships and several more and I talk about how our relationship with God changes our relationship with each other. I do that by building a high view of our relationship with God. It is less about how to be better person in your relationships and more about how great God is in relationships."
Read on to find out a little more about her book and her personal thoughts on relationships.
Your book Everyday Grace aims to strengthen our everyday relationships. What do you see as the biggest problem we face in our relationships?
I think our biggest problem is unrealistic expectations of each other. I've heard it said the expectation is a planned resentment. We tend to think that people should be better than they are. The truth is we are all pretty broken which is why we all are in desperate need of a Savior. We need to take an honest look at ourselves and see that we are truly a mess and once we do that we will be a lot more expecting of the mess that we see in other people's lives.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I had started studying the verses in John 15:15 where Jesus calls us his friends. I was thinking about how that truth could change our friendships with each other. Then I saw how all over the Bible God relates to us in ways that we would understand. He is our Father, Jesus in our brother, Jesus calls us his bride and He is our High Priest and so on. I found that in every earthly relationship God in Christ has already related to us in the same way. It was fascinating to me.
What are the differences between relationships with Christ at the center and those without?
Relationships with Christ at the center should have a deep understanding of the value of forgiveness. He has forgiven us of so much and because of that we can forgive each other. They also should be grounded in having our identity fulfilled in Christ not in the other person. For instance, when I see that I have been loved completely and eternally by my heavenly Father I don't have to look to my earthly Father for acceptance any more. I can love without expecting anything in return because all of the approval I need I have. Christ the Son earned that for me by living a perfect life in my place and dying the death I deserve for not acting like the child of God that I am. Relationships without Christ at the center will be filled with unmet expectations, anger and bitterness that cannot be answered. When I am not first thinking about Christ as my primary relationship, the relationship I have always longed for, then I will expect others to be Christ for me. I will demand they love me unconditionally. I will want them to always put my needs in front of their own. Truthfully only Christ can do these things for me.
How should a relationship with an all-powerful creator influence our relationships with humans?
It should free us to love. It should free us to forgive. It should free us to give. And when we don't do those things we can know we are forgiven and free to confess our sins to each other. We don't have to hide any longer. We are known and loved.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading this book?
My prayer is that people will be undone by the love God has for them. I hope that as we each steep our hearts in His goodness and favor towards us we will find our earthly relationships changed.
Thank you Jess!