The main premise of Samuel Kioko Kiema’s expository treatise, Rejecting Offense, Strife, and Unforgiveness is that our words have inexplicable power to destroy our relationships with others, or, conversely, to bring about healing and reconciliation. Moreover, he presents the case, using Scripture, that the duty of every believer in Jesus Christ is to assist in reconciling men to God and to each other through the proper use of our words (our “tongue”).
The first 13 chapters cover all the various ways our tongues can get us into trouble, e.g., through arguing (strife), gossip, sowing resentment and discord. Chapters 14 and 15 summarize the remedy: using the tongue to “bring forth” or to create the world around you that you truly desire and a life that blesses and builds up others.
Kiema’s message is hindered somewhat by his writing style, which comes across like a transcription of a sermon series rather than a properly executed discourse. He repeats phrases, scriptures, and “points” in the way a minister would deliver a Sunday morning homily. In addition, at one point he attributes a well-known quote used by the Methodists to Jesus (see page 2), which casts a shadow on the book’s scholarship.
Nevertheless, what remains is a well-built case for how to deal proactively with the unpleasant words and deeds of those closest to us through forgiveness, patience, extending grace, and speaking blessing, and how to lean heavily on the example Jesus offered us during his time on earth. Christians who struggle with holding on to offenses or gossiping, arguing, and showing bitterness toward others—or, those simply looking for a resource for growth in how to bless others verbally—will find solid information and inspiration in this book.
Also available as an ebook.