Loving Well: Even If You Haven't Been   -     By: William P. Smith
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Loving Well: Even If You Haven't Been

New Growth Press / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: New Growth Press
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 1936768291
ISBN-13: 9781936768295
Availability: In Stock

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"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.

Author Info

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?.

Author Interview

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.

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  1. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Reminder, Conviction, Application.
    March 2, 2013
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When you read the Bible and look at the world God made, you notice that He designed Life itself to require loving relationships. Baby animals need Mama to feed them and nurture them. Plants need wise gardeners to tend and cultivate them. People need family and friends whose care reflects the ultimate Life-Sustaining Love of God.

    The metaphors God chose to describe our Christian life show us this in bold colors. Every metaphor is about a loving relationship. Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches and God is the husbandman who lovingly tends us.

    We are the straying sheep, Jesus is our leading, protecting Shepherd.

    We are the children adopted into our Great and Glorious Father's Heart!

    Jesus tells us that following Him is about Loving Well. First, loving God with all our hearts, souls, strength, and mind and then loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are now redeemed by God who is Love, we are commanded to Love, and we are told that we as God's Family are to be rooted and established in Love.

    Now, most of us will ask "How?" How do we love others well, to build up the body of Christ? How to we fallen, redeemed people welcome and nurture and tend and strengthen and help the other fallen, redeemed people around us? What can we do *Now* to love them? And how do we work towards loving people well?

    William Smith's book LOVING WELL needs to be on the Required Reading List for Christians. Loving people well is a possibility for every redeemed person, but it is by no means common. Things we can do to let people know they are loved are often simple, but rarely easy. Love is sacrifice, at its heart.

    "I find it helpful to think of Love as a large jewel with many facets," William Smith begins, "Each facet gives you a glimpse into the jewels essence because each facet is part of the same jewel. But every viewpoint has a sparkle all its own." This book has fifteen chapters, one for each facet of the jewel of Love. Some of these facets seem surprising, and I thought "I knew that!" Then I remembered..."Yes, I know this, but I don't put it into practice." As one wise person said, reminder is needed more often than revelation.

    One of the most surprising chapters for me might have been the one on Greeting Love. Yes, Greeting. God is the God who ran down the road to *greet* his returning Prodigal. He hugged him and wept over him and restored him as a cherished son. If the greeting had been any other way, the returning son would not have known he was forgiven and accepted home. God is a God of Loving Greetings- as His people, we must be too. Yet how many times has someone come home and found me in the middle of something (something that was not very important) and I have not given them more than acknowledgement "Another person had entered the room."

    I am called to begin loving people the moment they walk in! Greet them as a person, a special person whom you are glad to have home!

    Two of the most powerful portions of this book might have been "Comforting Love: Running to those who are Suffering" and "Sympathetic Love: Taking on Each other's Sorrows." These chapters answer the question: When we are trying to love someone who is sorrowing, what do we say that won't be wrong? Do we have to speak? Do we have to give wise, profound advice?

    Answer: We just need to be there with them. Perhaps quietly. An arm around their shoulder. A listening ear. Love them. Love them well. And read this book to remind you how.

    There is much conviction, reminder, and practical application in this book.

    I am blessed by this book. I received it from New Growth Publishing to review
  2. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Loving well even if you haven't been
    May 12, 2012
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    What a powerful book, teaching us how to love like Jesus and the Father do even if we haven't been! The author, William P. Smith gives a comprehensive review of love in his book, Loving Well: Even If You Haven't Been.

    As people, we try hard to love our neighbors, family, co-workers, and church family. Depending on how love was dysfunctionally demonstrated to you growing up, you more than likely will model the same type of love in your relationships-distance, resentment, silent treatment, avoidance, outburst of anger, etc.

    The author brings us hope from God the Father through Jesus Christ. A relationship with Jesus Christ can help you overcome your destructive methods of relating by seeing in Scripture how God loves us. It also allows Him to help us love others like He loves us.

    The book is divided into three parts:

    Love That Responds to a Broken World-Comforting, Sympathetic, Struggling, Forgiving, and Long-suffering Love

    Love That Reaches Out to Build Others Up-Partnering, Pursuing, Communicating, Serving, and Providing Love

    Love That Enjoys Heaven on Earth-Welcoming, Humble, Celebrating, Peaceful, and Hospitable Love

    I am overwhelmed (in a good way) for all the different lessons about and methods of loving that the author expounds on and what they look like. He is straightforward in each chapter, giving multiple examples to show you the destructive way versus the constructive way to demonstrate love.

    This is a great resource book to keep on hand as a good reminder when one is stuck in a relationship. I'd recommend this book to every person living here on earth. It's helpful to ascertain the different situations and how assimilate what you have learned.

    Special thanks to Rick Roberson, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
  3. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    encouragement for healthy Christians
    May 9, 2012
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Has it been your experience that you (and others) don't love well? Perhaps you find yourself undermining the very relationship you value. Maybe you have difficulty expressing love because you were not loved well by your family or your church.

    You are not alone. But, Smith says, loving well is a skill you can learn. It is not through a list of techniques that you will learn to love well. It is not by reading stories of others who love well. It is through a Person. You must experience love and know what it is before you can give it to others.

    In this book, Smith investigates fifteen facets of the love we experience from God. He breaks the study into three sections: "Love that responds to a broken world," "Love that reaches out to build others up," and "Love that enjoys heaven now."

    Smith has included reflective questions at the end of each chapter. He has also included many examples of loving well (or failure to do so) from his own life and the lives of others.

    I found some of the chapters to be great. For example, the chapter on longsuffering love has a section giving practical suggestions on how to bear well with others (79ff)

    I wish there had been that same kind of practical advice in other chapters. For example, on the chapter on communication, that we should communicate is made very clear. Smith also gives examples of good and bad communication. However, practical ideas on how to restore communication where there is a rift is missing.

    Sometimes it seems as if Smith thinks the biblical mandate to love is enough. In his chapter on sympathetic love, he notes that there are pictures in Scripture showing that God is touched by your grief. (23) He writes, however, "If you have been deeply hurt in your life, you may struggle to believe that your grief actually affects God." (24) He suggests reading a passage from Hebrews 4, then tells a story, then moves on. Smith gives no suggestions as to how to work on that struggle and come to the place of accepting that God feels your grief.

    Because of the sections like the one above on sympathetic love, I would recommend this book to relatively healthy Christians. If you have worked through any issues you have with God and are ready to show the love of God to others, this book will be a great encouragement to you. If, however, you have some issues with God and his love toward you, you may find this book frustrating.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for the purpose of this review.
  4. New Jersey
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    April 29, 2012
    Pilar Arsenec
    New Jersey
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When I read the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. I must admit I had a difficult time reading Loving Well because it convicted me to the core. I have never read such an excellent book on the topic of loving others like this one. I found myself reading a sentence and then stopping to think about it. This book is full of scriptural content and wisdom. There is no fluff, only truth.

    After reading this book, I realized I have not been loving others well at all. I've been a Christian for many years and yet, I have failed at loving well. This thoughtful book helped me to recognize, accept and learn "how to" love others.

    The author investigates fifteen facets of the love we experience from God. He states it is in these ways that God invites us to mature as we relate to other people with love. "We can love other people only out of our own experience of being loved." (xxiii) He also gives examples on how we can learn to love others. After each chapter, there are four questions to ponder and answer. I found this part to be especially instrumental in helping me apply what I learned into my everyday life.

    As I read this book, I underlined a lot of it, especially in Chapter 5: Longsuffering Love: Patiently Bearing with Each Other. There are so many nuggets to ruminate over in this chapter. I guess it is an area that I struggle with.

    Here are a few excerpts that spoke to me:

    "A necessary aspect of love, therefore, is learning to live patiently with people as they continue on their own journeys of learning to live more righteously. That's what loving well is all about: giving people the time and space they need as they grow." (Page 68)

    "Living 'happily ever after' is not the goal. Living well with broken people is." (Page 70)

    "The goal is not to find the latest, greatest way to turn people into model Christians but to love well the imperfect Christians in front of us." (Page 75)

    "The reality is that even blood-bought, Holy Spirit-filled believers sin. They sin often and they often sin against you. Therefore, you need to bear as patiently with them as God does with you." (Page 78)

    Loving Well is a very informative and well written book. I definitely want to read it again with the intention of studying it. I believe this book could be utilized as a textbook for schools, colleges and churches. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who work in ministry, such as counselors, pastors and teachers.

    In conclusion, I want to thank Mr. Roberson from The B&B Media Group and New Growth Press for sending me a complimentary copy of Loving Well to read and review.
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