The Three Hardest Words in the World to Get Right Themes

Leonard Sweet

Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ promised the world salvation and life to the fullest. In The Three Hardest Words in the World to Get Right, Sweet contends that such abundant life is missing from the culture as well as from the Church. Instead, most people are caught up in a mind-set that glorifies the present over the eternal. Spiritually adrift, we substitute selfish consumption and mindless entertainment for true meaning and security. Unfortunately, the Christian Church has not stepped forward to reverse this trend, retreating instead into the safety of traditional Christianity, where everyone looks and acts the same in church but lives identically to the world around them everywhere else.

Sweet is convinced, however, that such abundant life is actually attainable. In our postmodern society, what we are missing is the Who, the source of this life, and the How, the manner in which it is revealed. Sweet argues that the Who is Jesus Christ, the central character in the grand narrative of Christianity and the one who creates this promised life in us. The How is “I love you”—a three-word description of the biblical lifestyle that is based on a true identity, motivated by a true love, and results in a true community. Jesus Christ lived this life for us; secure in his identity, he loved others selflessly, by choice, and connected with people, without being controlled by them, and with culture, without being absorbed into it.


(The entire section is 404 words.)