Winston T. Smith, M.Div. is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. Winston has been counseling for more than 15 years and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. Winston is the author of Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments as well as several mini-books: Divorce Recovery; Help for Stepfamilies; It’s All About Me—The Problem with Masturbation; Who Does the Dishes?; and Help! My Spouse Committed Adultery.
I really enjoyed the new movie Inside Out. I confess that I assumed that it was simply a movie dealing in emotional stereotypes, which is what I saw featured in the previews. But while emotions do play a major role, the movie is about much more than that. Inside Out invites us to not only have a more nuanced understanding of emotions but to appreciate them in the context of personal growth, the nature of relationships, and the purposes of family. As a Christian, I found it especially thought provoking.
Marriage counseling is hard work and couples need tremendous amounts of hope to stay the course. Good news for biblical counselors, right? After all, the Bible is full of reasons for hope. But here’s where the Bible’s strength can become a potential weakness in a counseling situation. Of course, pointing couples to the love and power of Christ is the surest hope that we could ever offer, but we must be mindful of how it’s done. It’s possible to deliver even that wonderful hope in a clumsy way that actually does more harm than good.
Divorce is a complicated loss that often sets off a storm of painful emotions. Grief, anxiety, anger, despair, shame, and even numbness can take up residence in the hearts of those who have gone through a divorce. This workshop will equip the pastor, counselor, and friend to understand and speak words of healing and grace to those dealing with the complex losses of divorce.
Why does Scripture visit and revisit the theme of suffering? Part of it is that experiences of hardship and loss make us feel our need for encouragement and hope. But the reasons go deeper, cutting to the core of reality. Ever since Genesis 3, the door to blessing passes directly through the curse. We are changed into the image of Christ only as we collide with the curse.