I had never heard of this book or author until a friend of mine–a local pastor and chaplain–gave me a copy. I devoured it, highlighted it, took notes, and repented of many bad attitudes in light of Harvey’s teaching. When Sinners Say I Doby Pastor Dave Harvey quickly became a thought-provoking and soul-searching text for me. I recommend this book for personal growth, marriage enrichment, and in marriage counseling.
Harvey focuses on the heart’s involvement in the marriage. He isn’t primarily concerned with behaviors, words, or communication. He is first concerned with the heart and the reality of sin in the marriage. As husband and wife will undoubtedly sin against each other, Harvey teaches each to consider our own sinfulness and the way in which we respond to our spouses.
For me, chapter 3, “The Fog of War” was pivotal in moving me forward in understanding my selfish responses to Angela. Harvey points out that the tumult of war causes a fog in the mind that can cloud judgment. Our battle against sin likewise may cause cloudy thinking, skewed perspectives, and wrong conclusions as we relate to each other. Understanding the reality of this fog takes humility and a willingness to look first at ourselves for fault (the log in our own eyes).
The greatest strength in When Sinners Say I Do is Harvey’s focus on grace and the joy of repentance through Jesus Christ. He is committed to forgiveness, mercy and grace on the basis of Christ. In this way, he lifts Jesus to the center of the marriage.
As a pastor and chaplain, I recommend this book fully. I have no reservations about it and believe that any couple can grow more intimate with each and with Jesus by studying it and applying the biblical principles within.
To use this book in counseling, I would assign the entire text, to be read through by the couple one chapter at a time. Husband and wife should read the book separately (have their own copies) and highlight the parts that God calls to their attention. They should then discuss their highlights with each other before coming in for a counseling session.
Small groups or couples may choose to use the When Sinners Say “I Do” Study Guide for discussion as well.
The book is endorsed by Paul David Tripp, an extra bonus as Tripp is one of the premier biblical counselors of our day.
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