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Saturday, January 7, 2023

Book Review: Reactivity: How the Gospel Transforms Our Actions and Reactions by Paul David Tripp

BOOK review
Started on: 26 November 2022
Finished on: 9 December 2022
Title: Reactivity: How the Gospel Transforms Our Actions and Reactions
Author: Paul David Tripp
Publisher: Crossway Books
Pages: 170 pages
Year of Publication: 2022
Price: Rp 381,874 (

Rating: 5/5
*This e-book was received as a review copy from Crossway
"For most people, the gospel is a means of past justification and future destination. Gloriously, the gospel is both of these things, but it also provides for us, right here, right now, a way of seeing, a means of interpreting, a guide to understanding, and a way of living."
Social media and technology have slowly altered how people act and react toward each other. These days, criticism, outrage, and controversy dominate social engagement. Sadly, Christians are no exception. In this book, Paul David Tripp invites believers to view digital media and technology through the lens of the gospel and directs them toward a biblical framework for communication. He further explains how God wants us to engage with one another and encourages Christians to be wise in their interactions. Through this book, the author hopes that more believers will become a beacon of light in an age of toxicity and destructive reactivity.
"There are many things the Bible is not a source of information for. But your Bible is comprehensive; while not telling you everything about everything, it gives you a lens through which to look at everything."
"My hope is that looking at what we are saying to one another and how we are saying it through the lens of the gospel will not just inform us but will also convict and transform us, so as a gospel community we will stand above the toxicity that seems to be everywhere around us and shine as a city on a hill in a sadly darkened world."
This book feels so relevant, especially because I have witnessed how people can be so toxic and disrespectful in this age of social media. As Paul David Tripp mentioned in this book, social media is a tool that can either be used for good or harm. Through 12 chapters, he reminded us about God's truth and His commands in the Bible that covers how we should interact with others. Even though the Bible does not tell us how to react in a particular situation, it gives us the lens through which we should look at everything. I always love how Paul David Tripp's writing is gospel-centered and mind-opening; it encourages me to reflect upon my life and discover what I can change in my behavior—especially in relation to other people.
"But there's a problem with tools. The hammer that can be used to build a house can also be used to smash a window in a robbery. The screwdriver that can be used to assemble something useful can be used to stab someone in a fit of anger. So it is with social media."
"We cannot, we must not, normalize a reactivity culture that is more of a culture of harm than a culture of grace."
In this review, I'd like to include parts of the book that are impactful for me and give a rough idea about its contents. The first one that struck me was the sentence that says being theologically correct does not give you the license to be mean. The author emphasizes that when theology is properly understood and lived, will never produce cruelty of any kind. Unfortunately, many believers seem to prove otherwise when they think themselves more righteous and knowledgeable than others. We are then encouraged to practice humility, reminding ourselves that we are all sinners and in need of God's grace. Humility makes it difficult to be quick to criticize or judge others because we know we're no different than them. More importantly, biblical knowledge should lead us to a wise and godly living because we don't know what we know until we truly live what we know.
Another section worth noting is where Paul David Tripp explored one passage from Ephesians that teaches us why we react to one another the way we do, what a much better way looks like, and what makes that possible. For the apostle Paul, wholesome communication is not about the vocabulary we use, but it's first and foremost a matter of the heart. Reading this propels me to reflect on the reasons behind my reactions and what is the intention of my heart at that moment. I also took notes on the 3 heart commitments that will help us build a culture of wholesome responses, which are consideration of the other person, understanding the situation, and having the goal of grace in our response. When people hear the word grace, sometimes they think it's about being nice, permissive, or passive. However, grace is a radically different way of dealing with wrong that requires humility coupled with trust in the power of God.
"Grace never calls wrong right. Grace is a way of responding to wrong."
"Toxic reactivity is the result of a life shrunk down to the size of our wants, our needs, and our feelings. It is about making ourselves more important than we are and our opinions more significant than they should ever be."
The last one that I will mention in this review is a chapter on Dignity. People become dehumanized in this social media age as we lose the physical relationship that requires commitment and carries consequences. This chapter reminded us that we are all created the same because God made us in His image, which is why we should treat one another with dignity. We should not treat someone differently because of their race, position, gender, spirituality, or anything else. I think that's something I will continue to remember as I interact with other people, reminding myself that they are God's creations who bear God's likeness too.
There are plenty more mind-opening truths that can be found in this book that will teach us how we should communicate better as a believer. Each theme that Paul David Tripp explored has the power to expose, convict, restore, and transform us if we are willing. It is also important to realize that at the end of the day, relationships are of greater value than winning or dominating a conversation. We also don't have the power to change anyone by force of anger or logic, because change at the level of the human heart is always an act of God's grace. This book is definitely a must-read as an antidote in this toxic digital age direly in need of God's love. Highly recommend!
"Your reactions will only ever go where your heart has already gone. So, a commitment to wholesome talk isn't first a commitment to a restricted vocabulary but rather to change at the level of the thoughts, desires, intentions, and choices of the heart."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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