The Bible has a lot to say about the heart. The heart is a place of decision making. It is a place of knowing. It is a place where we feel our emotions. And there are so many other things that the Bible says about the heart that, as the Bible says, “who can understand it?” I know that I certainly do not always understand why I feel the things that I feel and do the things that I do. However, there is a rhyme and a reason to the way that our heart works to respond to life, and Jeremy Pierre wrote his book The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience to help shed some light on the way that the heart works and how to use these insights in pastoral care and counseling.
In this book, Pierre writes about three main dynamics that interplay in our hearts. He refers to these dynamics as cognitive, affective and volitional. We could also label them thinking, feeling, and intentions. He says that, as we counsel other believers, we often find that we are paying more attention to the outer action that caused the problem than to the inner beliefs and feelings that caused a response. This creates a lopsided approach to counseling. After all, an angry person knows that they need to be less angry, and they may even be bewildered by their own fits of rage. Yet, they may not understand enough about themselves and their inner heart life to be able to make the change that they want to make. How do we help connect needed changes to people’s hearts and allow them to be able to be transformed?
Pierre’s book proceeds to be divided into three main sections. In the first, he discusses the dynamic functions of the heart and how we experience life. The second section of the book bring up what our heart responds to–God, self, others and circumstances. The final section of the book lays out a methodology for ministry and counseling. It’s the practical section where we can address our problems.
I really enjoyed the reading of this book. I don’t think that I realized how often my responses to myself and to others are shaped by something that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual interaction that I’ve just had. Instead, my beliefs and feelings are always shaping my heart’s response, and those that I interact with are not always able to see why I have reacted in a way that seems to be unhelpful, overblown or simply wrong. I think, as a result of reading this book, I will be far more able to evaluate myself before I make a response to others that would seem a little off. I will also be able to evaluate others in my interactions with them and extend grace much more freely than I have before. In my interpersonal ministry and discipleship, I have more questions to ask to help those that I work with evaluate their actions in light of the different aspects of their heart, and that is never a bad thing.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.