Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eyes Wide Open Review

Eyes Wide Open by Jud Wilhite with Bill Taaffe

From the back of the book:

'In Eyes Wide Open, Jud Wilhite invites you to discover the real you. Not the you who pretends to satisfy everyone's expectations. Not the you who always feels guilty before God. Not the you who looks in the mirror and sees a failure. The real you, loved and forgiven by God, living out of your identity in Christ.

A travel guide through real spirituality from one incomplete person to another, Eyes Wide Open is about following God in the messes of life, about broken pasts and our lifelong need for grace. It is a book about seeing ourselves and God with new eyes - eyes wide open to a God of love.'

In Eyes Wide Open Wilhite talks a lot about grace. This is not a new concept in Christianity. In fact most of the ideas in the book are not new and you have probably heard them before. He tells people that God loves them, just the way they are, and that God’s grace is big enough for everyone. He tries to show people the difference they can make in their own lives and in the lives of those around them if they actually accept these things as true, believe them in their heart, and start living like they are true. I worried that Wilhite would claim that he had found the way to finally make you see, that he knew how to make you truly believe, that he had the one missing piece, and since changes of the heart can’t come from a book, no matter how good it is, I was a little leery. But Wilhite never claims that, nor does he talk like he has found the ultimate answer that will instantly open your eyes. He shares stories about what God’s grace has done in other’s lives and is open and honest about his own struggles with the very issues he is talking about. He shows you what is available to you and what could be yours if you reach out and take hold of it and why it is so important that you do. He talks about real world situations, even mentioning some people you may have heard of, so you can see it at work. He is honest enough to show you the ugly parts too and to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers. He isn’t offering you an instant fix. He doesn’t promise everything will be perfect tomorrow, or that you will be. But he does show you how it has worked out in other people, how they have found redemption and hope, and he offers you the same hope. And he shows you how accepting God’s grace and believing you are a saint in God’s eyes now will help you live a more Godly life instead of the other way around. And how this new life will let you help those around you. The book is easy to read has a conversational tone. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar or a theologian to understand it. Having a working knowledge of the scriptures was nice because I did recognize many of the quotes but it is not really necessary. You don’t need to have a Bible handy to read the book but Wilhite does give you all the references so you can look up the verses for yourself and not just take his word for it. I’m not saying this book will throw the switch that will make everything clear. The kind of changes Wilhite is talking about are hard and personal and belief has to come from you but I do believe that Wilhite gives you a lot to work with and think about, he raises a lot of good points and puts them in a very accessible way. I don’t think any one book will work for everyone but I can see how this one could help people who have a hard time accepting these things in their life to understand that it is possible to come to the point where they can or people who don’t know these things yet to come to a better understanding of them. And maybe help people see how it even goes beyond losing the guilt and feelings of inferiority into finally living the life God has for you.

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