I’m enjoying this book on counseling: Redemption by Mike Wilkerson (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011). In it, Wilkerson explains how the gospel kills our idols and heals our wounds.  I appreciate this book because it shows first of all that people really deal with some terrible suffering and secondly it shows that the redemption Jesus accomplished has everything to do with our wounds, sins, and tears.  This is where theory and practice meet: the truths of the gospel have everything to do with the Christian in the valley in the shadow of death.

“..What if your anguish stems from the slavery of addiction?  Here too it may get worse before it gets better.  But that doesn’t mean God is absent; it means he is at war against the gods that have enslaved you.  It means the bonds of slavery have been tied so tightly that they’ve cut into your skin and can’t be removed without some bleeding.  Your slave masters are not only outside you, in the temptations of the world; they are also within you, wherever you have allowed those temptations to bond with your sinful desires.”

“You must still cry out to God in faith for deliverance.  Yet, as you are brutally honest about your anguish, you must equally be honest about your sin.  You must know that you are in the midst of a war.  Expect death and pain in the process because you have to put sin to death by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13).  But also expect new life, for those who die with Christ also rise with him (Rom. 6:8).  What this means is that your redemption is as certain as his resurrection.”

I recommend this book for any serious Christian who deals with deep scars or who knows other scarred Christians who need gospel centered encouragement.  Pastors, elders, and other Christian leaders who counsel people will want to read this for sure.  There are reflection questions, Scripture references, and “for further study” resources at the end of each chapter.  Redemption is just under 200 pages, and most Christians should be able to work through the book one chapter at a time.  This may be a good book for a small group discussion setting.  I doubt anyone will regret reading this; in fact, I’m certain many will read it again and again.

shane lems