Review by Mark Mellinger, The Gospel Coalition
Chuck DeGroat admits his new book will be a disappointment to you if you are looking for a complete manual on “fixing” the problem people in your life. Instead he has provided something much richer: a resource to help all of us deal with the division that brokenness has inflicted on our hearts, and to effectively lead others to do the same. In short, DeGroat invites us to take seriously the lifelong work of pursuing wholeness in Christ and to help the people God has placed in our lives—especially those most broken and challenging—to find in him the answers to their deepest problems. Wholehearted flourishing in Christ, DeGroat contends, is the vision on which we must set our sights—digging deep when it comes to being disciples and making disciples of others. Along the way, the associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, boldly challenges many of our preconceived notions about just what that flourishing looks like.
Let me just say right off the bat that Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life is one of the most helpful books I have read in many months. DeGroat’s biblical insights are presented in a fresh, vivid way—the book has no dry stretches—and his personal humility and compassionate heart are evident throughout. He has an uncommon ability to communicate genuine warmth and appreciation for human frailty via the written word. It is because of these qualities that he ingratiates himself to readers almost immediately.
I also want to stress that this book is for everyone, not just pastors or business executives or those providing soul care in clinical settings. We all lead people in some sphere of life—even if just in the home—and have the potential to point them toward or away from Christ.