Good & Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining & Bitterness
— by David Powlison
(a review by Israel Wayne)
As an author of a book on anger myself, I was intrigued to see David Powlison’s take on this important topic. I have read many books on anger, and have been impressed by very few of them.
Many have created a victim status for those who express habitual anger. The goal seems to be that we need to excuse people from their harmful behavior, because they just can’t help what they do. These books may make someone feel better, in the short term, but the devastation of ruined relationships will continue. In the end, people who struggle with addictive anger patterns need hope that they can change and that life can better. Telling someone, “We all have hang-ups, so don’t stress about yours,” isn’t kind, or healing. It’s actually infinitely cruel, in the long run.
I sometimes suspect that such authors end up promoting hopeless advice like: “Just forgive yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself,” because they have not found any true solutions in their own life.
As a Christian, I am always hopeful that another Christian author will appeal to the only fixed reference point in the universe: The nature and character of God as He has expressed Himself in the Bible. My hopes are usually dashed. But not because most Christian authors don’t quote the Bible. They do. It’s just that they do so in a peripheral way. It’s almost like Jesus is a plug-in to a Humanistic worldview software program. The main solution is to either try harder (through your own human effort – which is a sure way to fail), or to abandon hope altogether.
In “Good & Angry,” I was delightfully surprised to note that David Powlison appealed to the wisdom of God as THE final source of truth on the topic of overcoming anger. The book is not merely a litany of random Bible verses, however, instead it is thoughtful and practical in its application of God’s specific teaching on this matter.
David does a good job in sorting out the difference between what we might call “righteous indignation,” and harmful human anger that destroys relationships and hurts people. He describes the root sources of anger, and provides Biblically-based solutions for breaking free from the anger habit.
This book will on a very short list of books that I will recommend for those struggling with this difficult topic. I hope you will get a copy for yourself or a friend or loved one who struggles with anger.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and the Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is a co-author of the book, Pitchin’ A Fit! Overcoming Angry & Stressed-Out Parenting. He is also the Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net.