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Loving Well (Even If You Haven't Been) Paperback – February 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Growth Press (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936768291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936768295
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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?.

More About the Author

My friend Brandon once told me, "When I was growing up, I thought the point of life was to build the biggest database of information about God that I could." So he did. He went to church, read his Bible and studied at a Bible college. He stuffed as much information into himself as possible, but his spiritual life became unbearably dry.
The problem is that no one relates to a database. No one develops a friendship with information. You can't get close to cold disconnected facts or trust them. As Brandon's relationship with the Lord grew colder it affected his relationships with people as well because he treated them the same way - as objects to study instead of people to love.
My twofold passion in life fits Brandon's need. I long for people to see and experience Jesus in ways that they haven't; not just learn things about him. I also want them to see what's gotten in the way of being friends with him; what's kept them from seeing and experiencing him. Those passions energize me whether I'm counseling, pastoring, consulting, speaking or writing. I love seeing the unexpected ways that God interacts with people in scripture and I love unpacking those experiences with his people.
Currently I serve our church as the Pastor of Shepherding and the Director of our Counseling Center. If you're interested in more of what God lets me do (preaching, retreat speaking and church consultation), feel free to stop by my website, surprisedbygod.com, where I've collected some of the things I've written and highlighted places where I get to share them.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book was a very slow read.
C. Estrella
"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.
Pilar Arsenec
In the gospel, we see that God brings us into His community of love and love us well.
Steve Cavallaro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joan N. on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tom T on May 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Bill takes a topic which is at the center of the Christian faith; love, and examines it in the reality of how it plays out in our daily lives. By breaking it out into 3 sections; 1. Love that responses to a broken world; 2. Love that reaches out to build others up; and 3. Love that enjoys heaven on Earth; he explores both how God loves us in a multitude of ways as well as how we can and should give and receive love from others. It is not necessarily a book that should be read quickly but rather one that "simmers" in our minds.
I was not given a book by B&B Media Group in order to do a review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve Cavallaro on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
I suspect it goes without saying that most of us have not been loved well by those in our lives. Our parents often did their best, but they had the same problem we have. So do our friends.

When you have not been loved well, you don't love well. On the surface, it appears to be a vicious cycle from which there is no escape. But it is not a closed system. If it was, this would be true. But there is someone outside the system that can enter it, love us well and enable us to love others well.

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4

This is the premise of Loving Well (even if you haven't been) by William Smith. The idea is that we only love well if we've been loved well. This is a biblical concept, as expressed in 1 John 4. In the gospel, we see that God brings us into His community of love and love us well. As we are loved, we learn to love.

Smith develops this in a very practical way. The 15 chapters of the book cover 15 aspects of love. He shows us how God has loved us in this way, and provides some practical ways we can express this love to others. As a result, this is a very gospel-centered book instead of a moralistic book. It is about what Christ has done, not a bunch of steps or principles to follow.

Smith has put together an engaging, encouraging and convicting book. I loved reading it because I found it interesting and helpful. I 'hated' reading it because I saw so many ways in which I fail to love others well. And William Smith is right with us.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tara Barthel on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Soaked in Scripture and solidly biblical in all of its counsel, this wonderful book by a seasoned pastor and Christian counselor provides practical, Christ-centered guidance for growing authentic, vulnerable, and loving relationships. This is true regardless of our upbringing and regardless of how others treat us today. This is true no matter what our personality type or how weak we naturally are regarding relationships. By exegeting both Scripture and people, Pastor Smith humbly shows us that God is a loving God Who graciously enables us to love one another. I highly recommend this book and I look very forward to studying it in depth and repeatedly in the coming years." Tara Barthel, author of Living the Gospel in Relationships and coauthor of Peacemaking Women and Redeeming Church Conflicts
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Wagner on May 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
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.
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