ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Young is the Senior Pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. He is a New York Times best-selling author and international conference speaker noted for his creative communication style. He has a passion for making the complex, simple as he speaks truth to people in ways they can understand and apply to their everyday lives. He has written 14 books, including Sexperiment, The Marriage Mirror, Outrageous, Contagious Joy, Beauty Full and Kid CEO.
I was recently contacted about a new book, FIFTY SHADES OF THEY: Insights That Bring Life to Your Relationships. At first, I thought it was a book about marriage given the title, but when I read more, I learned that this book was about relationships generally. Fifty Shades of They is authored by Pastor Ed Young, senior pastor of Dallas-based mega-church, Fellowship Church (Creality Publishing, Feb. 2105).
Based on biblical standards and the teachings of Young, Fifty Shades of They is written for anyone who is looking to give new life to their relationships from marriage, to friendships, to business. The book shares 50 bite-sized, yet profound insights, that will help any relationship thrive.
Pastor Young says if you look at your friends, you will see your future. Fifty Shades of They encourages readers to ask, “Who are their ‘they’?” and to take an honest inventory of which relationships may be causing harm and which should be fostered. He goes on to say that here is immeasurable growth and success to be found when you’re surrounded with the right “they”.
To wrap up the first chapter, Young reminds us of Proverbs 12:26 – “The righteous choose their friends carefully. . . .” Great finish to a great chapter.
Next is chapter two – discussion on what he calls the Relational Noun, and he defines that as people, places and things. If we hang around with the wrong people, we will end up going to the wrong places and we’ll wind up doing the wrong things. I say a very loud “AMEN” to that. For instance, I have a very dear Christian friend who I believe thrives on gossip. Unfortunately, I found myself looking forward to getting together with her and traveling down the path of gossip with her. Afterward Later I would feel horrible and surprised at my own behavior, somewhat embarrassed to admit what I can be capable of. As time went on, I realized my wrongs and started to back away from the gossip aspect of our friendship, and guess what happened? The friendship wasn’t as strong as it used to be and we barely visit anymore. Sad that the friendship died, but also realized it wasn’t the friendship I wanted to have.
Chapter three talks defines the right kind of “they” as tough, honest, encouraging and yielded. The chapter then goes on to discuss “tough”. Chapter four discusses “honest” and ends with Colossians 3:9-10, which says “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Chapter five discusses “encouraging” and ends with Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Chapter six discusses “yielded”, and ends with the well known verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Interestingly, our church is doing a series on guardrails right now – putting guardrails in place so that you don’t end up in the ditch of life making poor choices. As I read this book, I saw glaring similarities to the lessons of the guardrail series at church and Pastor Young’s “fences” discussed in chapters nine and ten.
The chapter dealing with unforgiveness was a big pill that I continue to swallow. It talked about allowing a past hurt to damage my current life, and wrapped up the chapter with Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ Ugh, okay, I’ll continue working in this area.
I loved learned about the three types of people, and using the friendventory to determine which category these people fall into – the “for you,” the “use you,” and the “with you” types. In case I hadn’t learned enough in this short book, I got to chapter sixteen and learned about the “Crazy Pill”. This chapter is about the crazy people in our lives and how to look out for them. Young lists 10 different descriptions of those crazy people to help us recognize them! (Crazy people – aka the “cray they”).
Contrary to some people’s opinions, life is not a solo sport. We are all created to be relational beings. We need those healthy relationships in life, and we need to be those healthy relationships for others. I need to re-read the book as it pertains to me being the “they” in someone else’s life. From casual acquaintances to our closest friends, the people in our lives affect where we go and impact who we become. But great relationships don’t just happen. To get the most out of them, we must be intentional.
“Finding the right ‘they’ in life is important. But equally important is becoming the right ‘they,” Young says. “To have a friend you have to be a friend. And the kind of friend you are is the kind of friend you will attract.”
When I then reflect on the people I consider real friends, I think about these descriptions and see how they compare in this light. Admittedly, my friends are a little better in the “they” category than some of my co-workers and business associates.
Fifty Shades of They is a great book and while it is a quick read, it provides so much insight of growing, nurturing and having great relationships with others. If you want to know more about Pastor Ed Young or this book, head over to their website, Fifty Shades of They. You can also check out Pastor Young on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube!
I was provided with a copy of this book without cost by Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion.