Edward T. Welch
Life is hard. We are all susceptible to unforeseen circumstances, and there are many: job or financial unknowns, our health, violence, discrimination, broken promises, etc… The list is endless. Add to that the never-ending activity of our heart. It guides our thoughts and actions as we interact with all our circumstances. So, when our circumstances meet our busy heart, we begin to feel the weight of the burden. Our pride kicks into overdrive and we suffer.
In his book, Side By Side, Ed Welch says we are needy, and “the goal is to become transparent and humble friends who are at ease with our neediness. We see our hardships and sin, speak openly about them to the Lord, and are willing to ask others to pray for us”(p.65).
But we are also needed. “This is the way the church moves forward – through mutual love and care…The goal is to grow in a long list of skills. These skills, however, will enhance the basic things we already know and do every day: we move toward others when they are in need, we get to know them, and we pray” (p.65).
The last 11 chapters are practical ways that we can move toward others and get to know them. Welch is not satisfied with ideas of how to do this. He takes great care to show exactly how this could look. He provides examples of questions that can be asked and conversation starters to get to know others. This book begins with the initial greeting, and works all the way to walking side by side with hurting people.
Along the way, we are reminded to have thoughtful conversations, enjoy one another, walk together, tell stories and have compassion. But, we are also reminded to be aware of Satan’s devices, and be prepared to talk about sin. Examples of what to say and do are generously given through every step of the process.
I’m not sure I can recommend this book enough! There is no excuse for Christians to avoid reading it. If we are going to be faithful to the Lord and His church, developing these skills is critical. This book serves as a great tool to that end. You can get a copy at the Island Brow Bookstore!