J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith are both well known for their biblical soundness and their vast experience in Biblical Counselling. There are few counsellors with greater insight on the subject of emotion. As Groves and Smith explain, it is common that we ignore or overlook our feelings, or they can control us. The reality is that this happens because we often don’t know what to do with our emotions.
Groves and Smith put together the theology of emotions in a simple and easy way for us to understand what emotions are and what they are not. They wisely deconstruct a lot of misconceptions that we have about emotions, for example:
“Have you ever thought about grief, anger, discouragement as something that could be right and important? Even if you could fix the problem?”
If you are like me, you would say: ‘What??? Are you saying that sometimes it is good to have negative feelings? To have bad feelings?’ The book’s answer is a big YES! Would you like to know why? Well, to get a complete answer, you are going to have to read it for yourself.
The book is divided into seventeen chapters, and at the end of each chapter, there are two types of questions: “As you face your own feeling” and “As you help others”. This is a fantastic tool for self-examination and to use while disciplining or counselling.
There are three main parts that are examined:
Part 1 – Understanding emotions. This part helps us to unpack biblically everything concerned with our emotions. The sound understanding of our emotions leads us to reflect on God as we are bearing His character, and this understanding can take us to a place of true repentance and healing.
Part 2: Engaging emotions. The book gives four steps in order to move towards (not away from) our emotions to see what is really in them. When we understand our intentions, motives, reasons, triggers, patterns, we can take them effectively to God. In other words, the steps take us to the root cause of our emotions which enable us to act in effective ways.
Part 3: “Engaging with the hardest emotions”. This is an application of everything the reader has learned. The authors use the framework exposed in the first two parts of the book and apply it to the most common problematic feelings: fear, anger, guilt, grief and shame.
My biggest take away from this book was realising that a sound understanding of my emotions deepens my relationship with God and with others.
– Cristiane Baker worships at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Hobart
Buy “Untangling Emotions” from Reformers Bookshop.