A Loving Life In a World of Broken Relationships
In A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships, Paul E. Miller takes us through the book of Ruth to show us how to better love in the way that we as believers are called to love.
Miller sheds light on the selfish new-aged version of loving that focuses on the self and seeks happiness. He describes it as chasing “feelings and desires instead of doing the good work of love” (p. 12). Believing that the book of Ruth in the Old Testament of the Bible is a perfect “template” of what it looks like to love well in a dark and decaying world, he puts our society’s twisted idea of love on display and leads us in discovering the true version of love and what it entails.
He divides A Loving Life into four main parts: Committed Love, The Shape of the Journey, and Learning to Think In Love, and Love Wins the Day. going from describing what real love requires of us, to what it looks like to embark on this true path of love, to learning how to rightly engage our minds and hearts in this love, and finally, to the victorious outcome of pursuing this journey of love, with God at the center of it all.
Miller first clarifies what love demands of us, and begins by defining true love as “hesed love,” a Hebrew word that can be translated as “steadfast love,” that combines love and loyalty and commitment and sacrifice. It calls us to die to ourselves, and not only enduring discomfort and suffering, but embracing it. He continues to lead us in the book of Ruth to discover what the path of this true, hesed love entails and what it looks like. He describes the shape of the journey of love as the “J-curve,” dipping down into death and slowly climbing up to resurrection. We experience vulnerability yet protection, blessings from God, humility, community, and more. Miller draws our attention to the ways in which Ruth, Naomi and Boaz show us that the path of love requires and leads to wisdom and celebration, and that it lasts forever.
There are many reasons why I enjoy A Loving Life, but the primary one is that it is wholly rooted in the Word. Miller doesn’t lazily throw Scripture in random places, paying no attention to context, and more than that, he didn’t choose a topic and find Scripture to assist it. Rather, he took the book of Ruth and broke it down to discover what God teaches us through it, and that is what A Loving Life is based on.
Additionally, Miller has calm and collected tone as an author, which is beautifully contrasted by the profound points that pierce through your soul and make you slow down as you read. His writing is exquisitely constructed.
The only critique I have for this A Loving Life is that although the dominating theme of the book of Ruth is clearly love, there is so much goodness and truth within it that it was slightly difficult to see the connections between his points. He did a phenomenal job at acknowledging every lesson that can be learned from the book, but could have created a clearer organization of each lesson.
Nevertheless, I encourage all to read this book, because regardless of the organization, he pours the truth of the Lord found in the book of Ruth into the hearts of readers.