The Three Hardest Words
The Three Hardest Words
In the World to Get Right
WaterBrook Press, Hardcover, 9781578566488, 256pp.
Publication Date: March 21, 2006
Three simple words–“I love you”–capture the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry.
These three words form the bottom line and top drawer of all his teachings. And they remain the three hardest words in the world to get right. Two pronouns and a verb have never been so difficult to grasp, much less to practice.
Popular culture has ruined love’s reputation by redefining it first as romance, and then as lust. But it’s not just the meaning of the word love that causes so much confusion. To fully understand love, we also need to find out who we are in God’s eyes and whom we are commanded to love. Following Jesus can be described as the daily practice of all three words: I. Love. You. There is nothing more rewarding, and nothing more risky.
Join Leonard Sweet in this eye-opening, life-altering exploration of three simple, one-syllable words. After all, the lifestyle of love is the only life that Jesus calls you to live.
There is nothing more challenging than adopting the three-word lifestyle of Jesus as your own.
Perhaps you have wondered why love seems to work for everyone else, but not for you. Or maybe you’ve done your best to love those around you, but it seems that life has drained your last drop of trust and affection. Nothing is better than love when it’s right; and nothing is more destructive than attempts at love that fail to follow the Jesus prescription for a healthy life.
Jesus devoted his earthly life to saying these three words–I love you–and teaching us how to say them. As Jesus defined love, it takes everything you’ve got…and then even more, which only God can give. The lifestyle of love is not something you can master on your own, but Jesus is ready to show you how.
Starting today, you can learn to live “I love you”–the three hardest words in the world to get right.
Leonard Sweet, PhD, serves as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries. He has written many books, including Out of the Question…Into the Mystery and the trilogy SoulTsunami, AquaChurch, and SoulSalsa.
Praise for The Three Hardest Words
“This book demonstrates that one of the seminal Christian thinkers in the postmodern era can also be a pastor. Leonard Sweet gets us to examine what it takes to live out love in this world, and he does it beautifully.”
–Tony Campolo, coauthor of Adventures in Missing the Point, professor of sociology at Eastern University
“Len Sweet has, in his inimitable style, tackled the three easiest/hardest words in the English language, wrestled them to the ground, hugged them, and then let them fly again. His imagination takes us on a journey; his mind is an encyclopedia of wonderful references; and his language is captivating. This book is a joy...and a challenge.”
–Tony Jones, national coordinator of Emergent-US, author of The Sacred Way
“In The Three Hardest Words, Leonard Sweet plumbs the depths of Christianity to explore the richness of God’s story, one that is abundant in love. As usual, Sweet’s work is thought-provoking, insightful, and a must-read for any postmodern thinker.”
–Margaret Feinberg, author of Twentysomething and What the Heck Should I Do With My Life
“Leonard Sweet has explored each of The Three Hardest Words in light of scripture and God’s kingdom. Journey with him to find out how God defines each of the words that sums up the Christian life: I, love, and you.”
–Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor, coauthor of Entrepreneurial Faith and author of The Gospel of Good Success
“It turns out that Jesus’ simplest and most basic command–that we are to love one another–is the hardest one for us to live out. Leonard Sweet’s book is a tremendous help in guiding us not only to say the words ‘I love you’ with greater understanding of what they really mean, but also to live them with greater integrity and intention.”
–Ruth Haley Barton, cofounder of the Transforming Center and author of Sacred Rhythms
“As corny as the song lyrics are, it’s true that the world does need ‘love sweet love.’ But we need love the way Jesus expressed it. Len Sweet shows how to lose the cliché and make love a reality.”
–Dan Kimball, pastor, author of The Emerging Church and Emerging Worship
“Leonard Sweet takes you on a journey out of yourself and into the transforming power of God’s love. His fresh take on love can change your life and your community. Read, live, and breathe this provocative book.”
–Ben Young, pastor, author of Out of Control: Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out