Trade in your bad relationship habits for something better. Distance, avoidance, and resentment are hallmarks of a relationship in trouble. We sometimes find ourselves tearing down the very relationships we were trying to build. Are we doomed to repeat this cycle forever. In William P. Smith's book, Loving Well, he lets readers know that they can exchange empty ways for new ones. A rich, practical relationship with Jesus enables you to develop rich, practical relationships with others in spite of your brokenness and theirs. Through Christ, you no longer have to do what you have always done. In short, you can learn to love well.
Format: Paperback Number of Pages: 288 Vendor: New Growth Press Publication Date: 2012 Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 1936768291 ISBN-13: 9781936768295 UPC: 9781936768295 Availability: In Stock
"In a world that is losing its bearings, Bill Smith gives us clear and warm direction centered on the person of Jesus. In this richly nuanced book, Bill uses wisdom from the Word and his experiences as a counselor and father to offer us a template for love in a broken world." -Paul E. Miller, Director of SeeJesus; author of A Praying Life and Love Walked Among Us
"Bill Smith wants us to know that we can love because we have been and are being loved; no, not by our friends and family, but by our ever-present and ever-loving Redeemer. God's love has the power to transform each of us into people who love joyfully, humbly, faithfully and well. Now, in a world where hearts and relationships are broken daily, that really is good news!" -Paul David Tripp, DMin, President of Paul Tripp Ministries, author and international conference speaker
"I have read dozens of books about love, so I wasn't expecting anything new. But I don't remember too many books that I wanted to read to my wife, inspired me, led me in confession, left me with enthusiasm to try some bolder forms of love, and will leave me poor because I want to get copies for so many friends."
-Edward T. Welch, PhD, CCEF faculty member; author of When People Are Big and God Is Small, Running Scared, and Depression.
William P. Smith, M.Div., Ph.D., is the director of counseling at Chelten Baptist Church, Dresher, Pa., the author of the book Caught Off Guard: Encounters with the Unexpected God; and the minibooks How Do I Stop Losing It with My Children?; How to Love Difficult People; Should We Get Married?; Starting Over; When Bad Things Happen; and Who Should I Date?.
Why do we seem to repeat the same relationship mistakes?
I think there are two aspects that account for our relational miscues. First, in times of stress or difficulty in a relationship, we fall back on what we ourselves have experienced from other people (family, friends, neighbors, etc.). Even if those experiences don't feel right or we know they're unhealthy, they are familiar and so we are inclined/tempted to reproduce them in our present interactions.
Second, we lack positive patterns and experiences that we can imitate. Many of us are not wandering around with a list of alternative things we could try in our relationships - if we had such a list then we would try the things on it.
That's when a relationship with God becomes really practical. As I focus on the various ways that he loves me in the present, I am learning to develop new relational approaches to the people in my world based on what I've experienced from him.
What are some ways that we can promote unity in strained relationships?
Everyone who lives on this planet is already intimately familiar with suffering and with sin. Therefore, if I'm going to learn how to love people well, I will have to develop my abilities to relate to sufferers and to sinners. When people suffer, they need someone who will comfort, sympathize and simply be with them. When someone sins he needs friends who communicate that they know what it is to be a fellow sinner, who can forgive and who can endure patiently with that person (with a smile!). Both sufferers and sinners need people who will pursue them gladly to connect with them in their lives. Those elements alone will bring people together.
Another critical element in helping ease the tension in a strained relationship is learning how to communicate to the other person: I am for you - I am not against you; I'm not interested in using you - I want what's best for you. Therefore you learn how to serve other people because they need you to. You learn to engage people in conversations. You learn to think about what other people need even more than you think about your own comforts. You learn to create a climate that mimics the one that God creates with you. He moves toward you so that you learn to trust that he has your best interests in mind, and now you move toward others in similar ways.
What should our attitude be towards those who we reach out to, but they continue to hurt us?
Sometimes people hurt us because they're intentionally trying to do so; often, however, they're just clumsy. When a person is unintentional, it still hurts, but I learn to give an experience of grace to the other person who sins against me. Instead of being surprised, I expect to be hurt by people (which is different from asking to be hurt!). I then seize those moments as opportunities to show kindness in the same way that God has - you only know the depths of his kindness because you've needed it. I remind myself that the way God treats even hardened enemies is not by giving them what they deserve; instead he acts to turn them into his friends.
When someone is intentionally trying to bring hurt, then I remember passages like Romans 12:18, where Paul says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Paul realizes that it is not always possible - you can offer someone a peaceful relationship, but you can't force them to accept it. In that case, you recognize that their unwillingness is the limiting factor on your friendship and you walk away unless they're willing to relate differently.
How can we create new patterns for God - honoring relationships?
New patterns begin with realizing how God relates to me. The Bible is not simply filled with truth propositions, but every truth, including the ways he calls me to live with others, is a direct reflection of his heart and attitude. He calls me to live with others the way he lives with me. Therefore, new patterns with the people around me grow from a present, active experience with Jesus that over - rides the negative experiences I've had.
For instance, as I think about how God has treated me for the past forty - plus years, I am amazed at how patient he is. He is now showing me parts of my character that I have not seen or taken seriously enough that have needed to change all those years...and he's been willing to live with me anyway. He has lived with me just like he was willing to live with so many in the scriptures - loving them, caring for them while all the time continuing to grow them to be like himself. As I reflect on his patience, I find myself both grateful and changed so that I am less impatient with my coworkers and family members than I have been. His patience with me develops patience within me.