Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life—Including Yourself

Eerdmans, 2014
ISBN: 9780802871435


People—frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated—are the most difficult part of leadership. They challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. In this book, Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.

Toughest People to Love explores the basics of how people “tick,” encouraging leaders to examine and take care of themselves so that they can better understand and care for others. Based on DeGroat’s wealth of experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this book—both wise and practical—is one that countless leaders will go back to time and again for valuable insights and renewed vision.

With Logos Bible Software, this volume is enhanced with cutting-edge research tools. Scripture citations appear on mouseover in your preferred English translation. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful topical searches help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Tablet and mobile apps let you take the discussion with you. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Want an even better deal? Get more books at a bigger discount when you order the Eerdmans Bible Reference Bundle 2!

Key Features

  • Addresses the challenges of leadership during interpersonal strife
  • Advises leaders on how they can become more effective by caring for themselves
  • Provides a wealth of practical insight from an experienced pastor and counselor


  • A Vision for Those We Lead, a Vision for Ourselves
  • Understanding Our Story
  • Personality Disorders: Loving Those Who Drive You Crazy
  • Addictions: Loving in the Dark
  • Loving the Fool: When Relationships Turn Ugly
  • Growing through Pain: The Gift of the Dark
  • Living with Wholeness: Rest and Resiliency in the Leader’s Life
  • Growing into Leadership Maturity: Self-Care and the Art of Shadow-Boxing

Praise for the Print Edition

Chuck DeGroat combines thoughtful reflection with psychological learning and spiritual vision. This book will give wise guidance to anybody who is called to lead.

—John Ortbert, author, Who Is This Man? and The Me I Want to Be

Sometimes one discovers a book so helpful and profound that it never collects dust on one’s bookshelf. Toughest People to Love is that kind of book, and I will refer to it often. Here you will find accurate, insightful diagnosis and practical, biblical remedy. As a difficult person who deals often with difficult people, I find this to be a wonderful and life-changing book. Read it and be glad!

—Steve Brown, author, Three Free Sins: God Isn’t Mad at You

Toughest People to Love is overflowing with wisdom and compassion. This is a book that I need personally, that I will assign in my seminary courses, and that will be an important resource as I develop leaders for the diocese in which I serve. . . . It is part self-awareness guide, part handbook on soul care, part leadership treatise, and part consultation on dealing with difficult people in the church.

—Justin S. Holcomb, adjunct professor of theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

This brilliant book is a road map through the morass of convoluted relationships we all face in our families, neighborhoods, work, and ministries. . . . I wish I’d had this indispensable resource—a life-giving well—much earlier in my life. I will return often to it.

Dan B. Allender, author, The Wounded Heart and Leading with a Limp

Toughest People to Love will make you a better leader, pastor, parent, and friend. But more than anything else, this book will guide you down a path of personal renewal and give you a new trajectory in your own journey to wholeness and integration. This is a book to read again and again as we seek to love the beautiful and broken people in our lives, including the person we see when we look in the mirror.

—Fred Harrell, senior pastor, City Church of San Francisco

This wise and winsome book on leadership takes us on a journey into the challenges and complexities of difficult relationships—with others and with ourselves. Reflecting the Christian wisdom that suffering can lead to human flourishing, DeGroat points us to the rest beyond bodily rest found paradoxically in the solitude and the deepening community with others that together center us in God.

—Eric Johnson, director, Society for Christian Psychology

Chuck DeGroat clearly understands the realities of pastoral ministry. This book is both theologically robust and practical and therefore takes a well-rounded approach to human formation. It will substantially help those who want to understand what Christian leadership, counseling, and friendship really mean.

—Tyler Johnson, lead pastor, Redemption Gateway Church, Mesa, AZ

Product Details

  • Title: Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life—Including Yourself
  • Author: Chuck DeGroat
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Pages: 183
  • Christian Group: Evangelical
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Leadership

About Chuck DeGroat

Chuck DeGroat is associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan. He is former teaching pastor of City Church, San Francisco and executive director of City Church’s counseling center.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


What other people are saying about Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life—Including Yourself.