Relationships set the foundation of human existence. We desire the companionship of one another and God’s plan indicates that humans live and function together. Yet, because of sin, the natural inclination in relationships is to construct relationships around me, myself, and I. It’s no surprise then that so many of our relationships often exist in a state of devastation. Considering that we judge life by our relationships (pg. 133) it is no surprise then that many people are so dissatisfied with their lives. For this reason, Edward Welch has written Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships.
If you are not familiar with Ed Welch, you need to be. The materials that he has produced are some of the best when it comes to living in fellowship with fellow sinners. In addition to being a faculty member with the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, Ed Welch is a biblical counselor with much experience and education. As one who counsels through broken relationships, he pulls from both experience and the Scriptures to guide believers in their relationship with one another.
Caring for One Another is only 80 pages, so one cannot claim there is little time to read it, but only that it takes much time to put into practice. Starting with a foundation of humility, Welch keeps adding a step with each chapter guiding readers towards more personal relationships with one another. These including knowing the person (their heart, their influences, their life). From their he addresses the need for serious conversations including those about suffering and sin, but joined together with these tough conversations is the need to pray for one another.
Ed Welch is certain not to overwhelm readers but seeks to guide them in this very important aspect of the Christian life. Therefore, readers will find themselves immersed in the Scriptures and confronted with practical applications of them. Through discussions questions included at the end of each chapter, Welch forces readers to deal with the teachings in a very personal way.
An interesting foundation to the book is Welch’s definition of grace, which he defines a “God’s moving towards us in Christ” (pg. 21). He takes that to note that as God moves towards us through Christ, we should take the initiative to move towards others. Specifically, he uses phrases such as “Jesus listens, we listen.” In one sense, he is not wrong. However, the definition seems to neglect the depth of God’s grace, and so readers should take note of this.
In reading through the book, I am left with the question, “Is this book necessary?” The books shortness ensures that he is not needlessly wasting readers’ time. However, the principles that he brings forth would seem to be basic and understandable by most genuine Christians . . . even if they are not always practiced. As a result, what seems to be lacking is not more teaching, but more accountability in this realm.
Overall, the book is good and I don’t mind recommending it to some who want a basic introduction to the topic of relationships without a major investment of time. Yet, a better book would be one that he has already written called Side by Side, a book that we frequently recommend to others (although it is geared more towards a counseling/discipleship relationship). Another good book that is perhaps more worthwhile specifically on this topic is The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendships by Jonathan Holmes (Note: Ed Welch wrote the forward for this book).
To purchase a copy of the books mentioned in this review, click the following links:
Caring for One Another by Edward Welch
Side by Side by Edward Welch
The Company We Keep by Jonathan Holmes
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or any other person associated with this book and is the result of my own reading of the book.