Book Reviews

About Grace-Based Living

Grace-Based Living provides a practical yet scripturally grounded guide for Christians who treasure their family and spousal relationships, seeking ever-greater harmony and happiness within the home. Crystal Lutton’s in-depth understanding of the Bible’s instructions on family and marital matters provides the foundation for her teachings and guidance. Readers will especially appreciate the chapters on positive conflict resolution, gentle yet effective discipline, age-specific expectations for children and teens, and learning how to set healthy boundaries.

Two distinctions that the author draws I found particularly helpful. The first is that there’s a big difference between demanding obedience and expecting compliance (the former term being most appropriate in the child’s relation to God, and the latter in relation to his or her parent). The second distinction is that, while children need to learn over the years how to manage the display of emotion (as we all do, if we’re to succeed in adult life), they need to be allowed to honestly experience their feelings, whether positive or negative, because “happy is not the only acceptable emotion.” As a psychologist, I’ve found that too much emphasis on “obedience” to parents often leads to angry rebelliousness or distance later in life, especially when the child is punished for expressing anger, irritability, or other normal moods.

For busy parents and spouses, Grace-Based Living is thorough enough to provide scriptural foundations for practical suggestions and guidance, but easy to read even if one must do so between chores, after work, or in other “stolen moments.” I highly recommend this book for all who seek to resolve problems more quickly and to enhance the sense of harmony and happiness within the home.

— Teresa Whitehurst, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of How Would Jesus Raise a Child?, God Loves Single Moms and The Practical Therapist

Are you frustrated with your family relationships, or the way you’re disciplining your kids? Or are things working, but you’d like to tweak them a little to a softer, gentler approach? Grace-Based Living by Crystal Lutton, provides a framework for discipline, conflict resolution, and family relationships that’s based on grace – a powerful concept.

“I developed Grace-Based Discipline as a framework for discipline that is based on the scriptural model of discipleship, life skills that apply to parenting and all relationships, and effective tools to help you fill your own toolbox,” says Lutton. “When conflict arises, healthy conflict resolution strategies can help you arrive at a solution built on scripture, prayer and family unity.” The book also analyzes the ways that healthy boundaries allow each family member to define their role and space in the family.

I like how the book sets the foundation for a grace-based marriage first. She also includes specific examples of Grace-Based Living in action, and a very helpful chapter devoted to kids with special needs. The book is appropriate for all parents, particular for religious parents who already have an understanding of the idea of grace. But even if you haven’t heard much about that term, her tips and tools as well as her relationship philosophy are still easy to follow and put into practice.
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