When People Are Big and God Is Small (Ed Welch)             

by Paul Tautges | April 22, 2023 12:34 pm

Over twenty years ago, When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Co-Dependency, and the Fear of Man[1] made an enormous impact on my thinking. Most recently, our church staff is being blessed and challenged by it in our weekly meeting. Obviously, it has helped millions of others since it has sold over 260,000 copies!

In the Introduction, biblical counselor Ed Welch writes, “I have spoken with hundreds of people who have ended up in this same place: they are fairly sure that God loves them, but they also want or need love from other people—or at least they need something from other people. As a result, they feel empty. They are nothing, and they are controlled by whomever or whatever they believe can give them what they think they need. It is true: what or who you need will control you.” Then he encourages us to face the fear of man.

Facing the Fear of Man

Scripture identifies this epidemic of the soul as the fear of man. In the Bible, those afflicted with it were avowed worshippers of the true God, but they feared other people. That is not to say that they were terrified by or afraid of others, although sometimes they were. Fear in the biblical sense is a much broader word. It includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by someone, worshipping someone, putting trust in someone, or needing someone more than needing God.

The fear of man can be summarized this way: We replace God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others.

Of course, the fear of man goes by other names. When we are in our teens, it is called peer pressure. When we are older, it is called people pleasing. Men identify it as a need for respect. It was popularly called codependency. We can see it everywhere.

Have all these descriptions missed the mark? When you compare yourself with other people, do you feel good about yourself? Perhaps the most dangerous form of the fear of man is the “successful” fear of man—people who think they have made it. They have more than other people. They feel good about themselves. But their lives are still defined by other people rather than God.

*Today’s post is an excerpt from a book that made a tremendous impact on my thinking over twenty years ago but continues to help me today. In fact, our church staff has only one chapter to go on in our recent reading and discussion during our weekly meeting. If you have not read this life-changing book, I encourage you to do so, either alone or in a small group.

Westminster Books has the second edition at 40% off.[2]

  1. When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Co-Dependency, and the Fear of Man: https://www.wtsbooks.com/collections/current-specials/products/when-people-are-big-and-god-is-small-overcoming-peer-pressure-codependency-and-the-fear-of-man-9781629958071?utm_source=ptautges&utm_medium=blogpartners
  2. Westminster Books has the second edition at 40% off.: https://www.wtsbooks.com/collections/current-specials/products/when-people-are-big-and-god-is-small-overcoming-peer-pressure-codependency-and-the-fear-of-man-9781629958071?utm_source=ptautges&utm_medium=blogpartners

Source URL: https://counselingoneanother.com/2023/04/22/when-people-are-big-and-god-is-small-ed-welch/