A passionate plea for mutual respect

Confessions of a Toxic Perfectionist and God’s Antidote, by Dr. George Verwer

I have great admiration for George Verwer, as a humble man of faith with tremendous courage and initiative as well as dynamic evangelistic, motivational and leadership qualities. My experiences on short-term stints with Operation Mobilization, though hugely challenging, proved spiritually enriching and I know several long-term OMers, whom I love and highly respect. As an organisation, OM does magnificent work in spreading the Good News of Jesus, while also serving practical, medical and educational needs in many countries.

As something of a perfectionist myself – of which I was proud until I discovered not everyone shared that opinion! – I was very interested to read this new book.

While Verwer here applauds all striving for perfection in everything we undertake, he warns that this can easily degenerate into an arrogant, legalistic, judgemental perfectionism. So he urges us to recognise our weaknesses (‘toxicity’), which may sorely hurt others, and to be gracious and forgiving toward other Christians, especially leaders, who are also not perfect. This book is thus a plea to exercise grace in all we do and to apply God’s antidote for toxic perfectionism, which, he says, is “a personal relationship with Christ moment by moment”.

Chapter by chapter, we become acutely aware of the passion and earnestness of Verwer’s concern and, as such, the book inspires us to take this matter very seriously and make deep-seated personal decisions about how we behave, especially in our relationships with other believers. However, in all honesty, I have to say the book is not well written. The author repeats himself repeatedly and gets sidetracked into personal anecdotes or recommendations for other books, which tend rather to distract the reader than to strengthen the message.

Dear George: Keep up your prayer and preaching ministry but leave the book-writing to more talented people!

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