What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? Answers to the Big Questions in Life by Edward T. Welch is a recent book I agreed to review for the publisher.
This book has a target audience of 15-25 year old's although anyone reading it will certainly benefit from it; especially if they struggle with issues of man-pleasing and fear of man. Dr. Welch lays out the book in 5 sections that address The Problem, The Heart of the Matter, Who is God?, Who Am I?, and Who Are They? Each section has subsections in which he opens up the topics in a practical and user friendly manner.
This book will fast become a favorite tool of mine for counselee's to read because the author invites the reader to examine themselves and their relationships at the critical level of the heart in each chapter, making this an excellent homework tool.
He presents the evidence that we all fear being judged by other people from the time we are old enough to perceive what being liked and disliked is. He skillfully employs the use of questions throughout the book to prick the conscience of the reader on multiple levels.
Ed Welch consistently challenges thoughts and beliefs that we all have had about ourselves at one time or another, but especially in those difficult teen and young adult years when the approval of peers and friends is so important. Thankfully, he does not leave the reader muddled in the emotions such questions can dredge up, but reminds us that the perfect love of the Lord casts out fear and that human opinion becomes less important the closer we draw to Him.
The book contains stories of Old Testament characters who struggled with fear of man issues and how God used their decisions (both good and bad) to glorify Himself. Christ is magnified as the Redeemer and King and a gentle, subtle presentation of the Gospel is made within the framework of how God pursues those who have rejected Him.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter, What Do I Need? What Should I Want? because it addresses the area of sinful idolatry of man toward man. Too often we come to believe we "need" the love and acceptance of people for us to survive. The author uses what is known as the Lord's Prayer to identify our deepest true needs and points us to Scripture to identify and understand our other real needs.
I found this book to be an excellent treatment of a difficult subject for a difficult age group. I came away challenged, refreshed and better equipped to minister to people who are approval junkies. Well worth the time to read it!