By Tanwin Tanoto
Book reviewed: Jonathan Andrews. The Reconnected Heart: How Relationships Can Help Us Heal. (Westbow Press: Indiana) 2020.
“How is your heart?”
Church life is all about relationships. Whether it is a relationship with God or a relationship with other Christians and non-Christians in our community. In fact, being human is all about relationships because we are relational beings. Unfortunately, living in a fallen world means having relationships with fallen people with fallen intentions (including ourselves).
“Injuries of connection are perhaps the deepest and most disruptive of psychological disorders that I know.”
Dr Jonathan Andrews, a clinical psychologist, explores this idea of broken relationships and connections in the light of the bible. However, his main argument is not in the brokenness of these relationships but its healing. “Relationships do hurt people, but relationships also heal people. It happens every day.”
Dr Andrews divides this book into three main sections to give us a deep and wide overview of the nature of our relationships: (1) The importance of connection; (2) How relationships hurt; and (3) How relationships heal. What makes this book insightful is that it spends the bulk of the content on part 3. “Hearts break every day, but hearts also heal every day.”
First and foremost, this is a psychology book written by a Christian clinical psychologist. So, you will have a dual-lens look at the topic of relationships from a biblical and psychological perspective. I believe Dr Andrews has done a great job in balancing the two. Therefore, giving this book a comprehensive read, not only in theory but also in practice. Practically, this book offers plenty of tools to diagnose relationships issues and tools to move people towards healing in and through relationships. I found these practical sections invaluable in my ministry as a local church pastor.
The downside of this book is that it is a psychology book written by a Christian clinical psychologist. Some people might find it a bit too dense with unfamiliar terms and jargon. Does it read like a textbook? Well, yes and no. Yes, it contains a lot of terms, techniques, and jargon that may be unfamiliar for some. No, it is not that dense. I think if you read it slowly, you might find some great insights from this book. After all, the book deals with the heart. A critical part of our humanity and relationships.
Overall, the biggest takeaway from this book is that it is hopeful. Dr Andrews does not only give us the reasons why relationships hurt, but he gives the argument that relationships can heal. For those who have been hurt in and by relationships, you can find this book to be a big comfort when you go into a new or to fix a broken one. Isn’t that what the gospel is? That we are redeemed and restored to a relationship with God by a relationship that Jesus has made on the cross for us? Relationships are messy but relationships are also necessary.
“Change is not only possible: it is likely.”
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