In his book, The Thing Beneath the Thing, Steve Carter looks at why we sometimes overreact to certain people or events and how this may be connected to past hurts.

Carter encourages readers to become curious about our overreactions particularly when there are patterns of behaviour that aren’t logical. If we can find the connection to past incidents which have caused us pain then we can find God’s healing and the freedom to respond in healthier ways.

While Carter makes some good points, I found the lack of examples and illustrations made it difficult to identify these issues in my own life. On a couple of occasions, Carter did tell a personal story but this wasn’t enough for me to relate to the practical implications of his message.

Carter was a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Church during Bill Hybels’ time. He resigned in August 2018. He may have felt he couldn’t use examples from his time at Willow as it would implicate other staff from that era. At times, I felt Carter was trying to answer the question, how can a committed Christian behave sinfully over a long period without seeking help? Not that he ever specifically said this, but I imagine it was a question he struggled with and it would make sense for a book like this to come out of that experience.

The book was well-written and easy to read. One thought I found helpful, particularly when he mentioned the difficult season he had been through, was that everything that comes across our paths should be welcomed as an opportunity for spiritual growth since God only has good intentions towards us. Carter did a good job of pointing people to God’s all-sufficient healing grace regardless of our past sinfulness.

Overall a good premise and while not fully fleshed out, it was still a worthwhile read.

More reviews of this book can be found on Goodreads.