David Powlison, Good and Angry Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2016, 246 pp. $17.99
Anger is a subject that most people can relate to. Many people battle a problem with chronic anger that lashes out at others and demands that specific needs be met or this high-toxic anger will continue to escalate. David Powlison address the problem of anger in his most recent book, Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness.
Powlison’s primary objective is to teach readers how to more fruitfully and honestly deal with their anger. The book is comprised of four sections, each of which help contribute to the stated objective above.
Section One: Our Experience
The author carefully introduces readers to different kinds of anger that emerge in people. At the end of the day, the descriptions become self-portraits, requiring each reader to examine any anger that may be smoldering in their hearts.
Powlison identifies a wonderful paradox and acknowledges that God blesses people who admit their brokenness and their need for help. The author adds, “Sanity has a deep awareness, I need help. I can’t do life right on my own. Someone outside me must intervene. The sanity of honest humility finds mercy, life, peace, and strength. By contrast, saying we don’t need help keeps us stuck on that hamster wheel of making excuses and blaming others. The end result isn’t life and peace; it’s self-righteousness, self-justification, alienation, and bitterness.”
So like a seasoned surgeon, Powlison identifies areas of need that readers need to acknowledge and confess. This is the first step in the right direction and prepares the humble for section two.
Section Two: What is Anger?
This section uncovers the essence of anger. At its core, anger expresses, “I’m against that.” Anger is seen to be comprehensive in scope. Powlison observes:
- Your body operates in agitated mode.
- Your emotions operate in the hot displeasure mode.
- Your mind operates in judicial mode.
- Your actions operate in military mode.
- Your motives operate in Godlike mode.
But anger is not what some think it is. Powlison notes that anger is a combination of good and bad: “Your anger is worth brilliant and appalling. The shifting line between good and evil plays out when it comes to your anger, like everywhere else. Your anger is God-like to the degree you treasure justice and fairness and are alert to betrayal and falsehood. Your anger is devil-like to the degree you play god and are petty, merciless, whiny, argumentative, willful, and unfair.”
Section two also contains an excellent treatment on the wrath of God. The author demonstrates the necessity of wrath and shows how wrath is an essential attribute in God. He observes four powerful principles that concern God’s anger:
- God’s anger falls on Jesus.
- God’s anger disarms the power of sin.
- God’s anger delivers us from the pain of others’ sin.
- God’s anger protects us from ourselves.
“These realities nourish our hearts,” writes Dr. Powlison. “God’s loving anger resolves the entire problem of evil in a way that brings him inexpressible glory and brings us inexpressible blessing … The truth is that you can’t understand God’s love if you don’t understand his anger.”
Section Three: How to Change
Section three focuses on practical ways to move from sinful anger and lives in ways that promote peace and glorify the Lord. The author includes a very helpful list of eight question that helps readers shift their focus on eternal things. The questions include:
- What is my situation?
- How do I react?
- What are my motives?
- What are the consequences?
- What is true?
- How do I turn to God for help?
- What are the consequences of faith and obedience?
Section Four: Tackling the Hard Cases
In section four, the author continues to wrestle with practical cases that readers will resonate with. He makes it clear that God expresses righteous anger. It is at this point that the book drives home the reality of the gospel: “He is angry at all injustice, every betrayal, any time wrongs are done to another … His response to evil is to do the greatest good thing the world has ever seen. He sends his own Son as a man of sorrows who enters and knows our suffering. He sends his own Son as the Lamb of God to die for the sins of his people. God doesn’t want you to ‘just get over it’ or to gloss over what you have suffered as if it didn’t really matter. He wants to help you become good and angry as well. He wants you to become merciful, purposeful, hopeful … It takes courage to face the evil done to you and to then turn toward your God, who suffered unimaginable evil on your behalf.”
Good and Angry is a terrific book that is forged in the fire and bathed in the Word of God. The gospel runs throughout, urging the followers of Christ to follow his example and treasure him above all things. My prayer is that Powlison’s work will be a blessing to many; that the promises and purposes of God would be clearly revealed and that his people would be served well as a result of this excellent work.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
Purchase your copy today at https://www.amazon.com/Good-Angry-Irritation-Complaining-Bitterness/dp/1942572972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473699555&sr=8-1&keywords=good+and+angry
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