Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness - 241.3 POW

David Powlison
Something that matters to you just isn’t right. First you see the problem, then you feel it. It starts with a rush of adrenaline and often a rush of words, but it ends with an overwhelming sense of irritation that impacts how we talk to those we live and work with, complaining, and maybe even a settled bitterness to a person or a group of person. We know anger affects us negatively, but we don’t know any other way to respond when life goes wrong. Good and Angry, a groundbreaking new book from David Powlison, contends that anger is more than a problem to solve. Anger is our complex human response to things we perceive as wrong in a complex world, thus we must learn how to fruitfully and honestly deal with it. Powlison undertakes an in-depth exploration of the roots of anger, moral judgment, and righteous response by looking in a surprising place: God’s own anger. Powlison reminds us that God gets angry too. He sees things in this world that aren’t right and he wants justice too. But God’s anger doesn’t devolve into manipulation or trying to control others to get his own way. Instead his anger is good and redemptive. It causes him to step into our world to make wrongs right, sending his own Son to die so that we can be reconciled. He is both our model for change and our power to change. Good and Angry sets readers on a path toward a faithful and fruitful expression of anger, in which we return good for evil and redeem wrongs. Powlison offers practical help for people who struggle with irritation, complaining, or bitterness and gives guidance for how to respond constructively when life goes wrong.


Reviewed: 2018-10-10
Ephesians 4:26 tells us to be angry, but not to be sinfully angry. The exhortation and the warning is often given, but rarely explained. David Powlison's excellent book digs deep into anger, and helps us to see the difference between godly and ungodly anger. There are many ways anger is manifested and can affect us, and Good and Angry does a great job of highlighting how you may have an issue with anger and not even realize it. Even those who never get upset at anything have an anger problem; an apathy towards things we should be angry at but just shrugging the shoulders is just as wrong as flying off the handle at the slightest provocation.

Good and Angry doesn't stop with teaching us about anger, but to flesh out what we've learned in our lives. Chapter 13 "Eight Questions: Taking Your Anger Apart to Put You Back Together" takes a typical case study of a traffic jam to help us think through our own angry emotions to find out where it is coming from and then deal with the true source of anger. This excellent chapter helps you see that anger isn't something that is happening to you, but you are angry at something, or someone. Taking deep breathes, counting to ten, picturing yourself on a beach somewhere are typical techniques that may help lower the blood pressure but does not deal with the root of the anger problem. Without an understand of God, of sin, and the fallen human heart, the secularist cannot properly diagnose or deal with anger, especially in those difficult cases of extreme hurt. Wisely, Powlison explains that while we might never "get over" some pain, God will help us "get through it". Pointing the reader to the Christ who will judge the Earth and set all things right, he orients us to think Biblically and with an eye toward the justice of God and rest in His sovereignty.

Powlison writes that anger is tricky because "anger is always good or bad (or a mix of both)" and it takes prayerful thought and Scriptural orientation to sort it out and change. Anger exists because evil exists and as long as there is evil, there will be a good place for anger. To be angry at injustice, to be angry at evil, to be angry at the consequences of sin is a motivating force to do what is right, to protect, or to stop evil in its tracks. Good anger is concerned foremost with holiness and the glory of God and His will. Because we are sinful, the emotion of anger often turns inward and we are more concerned with our comforts, our will, and our glory and get angry when anything crosses our path. The book will help you sort out anger in your own heart, or the lack of anger, so that you can live with peace, and when the time comes, get really good and angry, for the glory of God.

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for the review copy.
Reviewed: 2018-02-04

David talks about how anger cannot be reduced to an emotion. It is more of a state of 'I do not agree with X', whether X is a situation, action, emotion, etc. So anger, itself, is not inherently bad. It all depends on what we are not agreeing with, why we are not agreeing with it, and how we handle our disagreement.

David then shows how there are positive and negative ways to experience and express anger. He goes to what is often the heart of the problem: breaking the first commandment (ie. we put something before God).

He gives ample opportunities to reflect on our thoughts and emotions and to have the book material engage w/ us, individually and practically.

I feel more equipped to understand why I get angry and how to be godly while being angry.

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