Side by Side by Ed Welch (Review)

Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Ed Welch. From Amazon, 
"Everyone needs help from time to time, especially in the midst of painful circumstances and difficult trials. In this short book, a highly respected biblical counselor and successful author offers practical guidance for all Christians―pastors and laypeople alike―who want to develop their “helping skills” when it comes to walking alongside hurting people. 
Written out of the conviction that friends are the best helpers, this accessible introduction to biblical counseling will equip believers to share their burdens with one another through gentle words of wisdom and kind acts of love. This book is written for those eager to see God use ordinary relationships and conversations between ordinary Christians to work extraordinary miracles in the lives of his people."

HERE is what others are saying: 

“There are two things that Welch’s book does very well. It demonstrates that no one gives grace better than a person who is convinced he needs it himself and that God makes his invisible grace visible by sending ordinary people to give extraordinary grace to people who need it. Welch not only reminds us all of our call to friendship ministry but also unpacks for us what it looks like. Every Christian should read this book!”
―Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, New Morning Mercies and Suffering

“Welch builds a vision of a Christian community that moves beyond platitudes and empty promises to deep, scriptural, Christlike relationships. You will find this book to be a helpful primer on how to ask for and provide help in the midst of an age of separation.”
―Elyse Fitzpatrick, author, Give Them Grace


Personally, I found this book to be a useful resource for the lay person. It is broken down into two parts, Part 1: We are Needy, and Part 2: We are Needed. The chapters are brief and conclude with questions to help you go deeper. In one chapter, he challenges us to write Psalm 22 in our own words. That was my favorite application of his writing. I found that to be an enjoyable exercise engaging God in an intimate and creative way. 


The basic idea is that those who help best are the ones who both need help and give help. p. 11
The first part guides you in sharing your burdens; the second part guides you in bearing the burdens of others. p. 11
The help we need goes beyond things like getting our house painted or finding a good mechanic. It’s deeper than that. We need help for our souls, especially when we are going through hardships. Help can be as simple as connecting with someone who understands or with someone who genuinely says, “I’m so sorry.” We were not designed to go through hard things alone. p. 11
There is good in every human being. Even the blatant narcissist has a softer, good side if we look closely enough. p. 26
Do not say: “If you need anything, please call me, anytime.” This heads in a better direction; it is not quite a platitude. However, this common and kind comment reveals that we do not really know the person. Sufferers usually don’t know what they want or need, and they won’t call you. p. 106
Sin is our most dangerous problem. p. 141