This is a book for those who have felt like failures, for those who desperately want to follow Jesus and yet have fallen short of his selfless love. It is a book for those who keep pressing on, putting one foot in front of the other as they learn what it looks like to love like Jesus.
Dr. Les Parrott, #1 New York Times bestselling author, has written a book in which he reveals five practical ways to love like Jesus in your day-to-day relationships: as a parent, spouse, friend, coworker, neighbor, and more. Parrot calls his five practices “secrets” because he believes most people, when thinking about loving like Jesus, only think of big sacrifices, and underestimate the small, ordinary ways in which we are called to practice the cruciform life.
Parrott believes that loving like Jesus looks like these five practical habits: mindfulness, approachability, graciousness, boldness, and selflessness. Research has shown that truths make their way from our heads into our lives when we discuss them with others, contemplate them, reflect on them, and begin an intentional practice. Therefore, Parrott provides self-reflection quizzes and a number of discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
Parrott’s book is simple, but convicting.In his chapter on being mindful, he challenges the reader to set aside his or her own agenda to really tune in to others. He states, “Even if your personal agenda seems holy and righteous, you may need to set it aside if you are to be loving” (p.17). In outlining the practice of being approachable, he challenges readers to notice where they might be setting themselves above others in pride and provides ideas for practicing humility in daily interactions.
Parrott’s chapter on grace addresses judgmental attitudes and the fallacy of salvation by works and then offers the reader practical ways to receive a life-altering grace from God in order to extend that same grace to others. When writing about boldness, Parrott dares readers to be kind to others by being clear with them and to be honest, courageous truth-tellers who are vulnerable and authentic in their relationships.
In his chapter on self-giving, Parrott defines loving like Jesus as emptiness and self-denial. He urges readers to pick up the practice of empathy and insists through empirical data that when one lives for the other then one is truly happy as God is happy and holy as God is holy. He states, “When you imagine what life must be like in the other person’s skin, you change. Empathy shapes you. It fashions a heart that is more closely aligned with Jesus” (p. 148).
Finally, Parrott makes clear that all of these practices are possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His power at work in a person’s life. He urges readers to daily make space to be breathed up into the loving life of the Triune God in order to breathe back out that love of God to others.
Though Parrott is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, a licensed psychologist, researcher, and professor, this is not written as a textbook for graduate students or a study guide for professionals in the helping field. His book is written in a you-took-your-pastor-to-coffee-and-asked-what-it-looks-like-practically-to-follow-Jesus tone, yet he provides dozens of studies, research outcomes, neurological insights, scientific findings, and quotes from a myriad of sources.
Parrott is scholarly, does his exegetical homework, and at the same time, he brings it all to where the “rubber meets the road” in his conversational tone and his delivery of specific and immediate ways to practice loving like Jesus. This book with its powerful but simple message would be a great resource to use in book studies, small groups, and teaching and discipleship circles.