Friday, September 16, 2016

Good and Angry -- Book Review

When I choose books to review on the blog, I try to pick ones which will be of good use to my readers and/or myself. However, I didn't expect this particular book to have such a profound impact on me personally.

If there is one prevailing sin in the family in which I grew up, it would be anger. It is a part of my culture, and I have witnessed over and over again the destruction it causes. In fact, I recall clearly an irate sibling once telling me (ironically, in anger) that I had an anger problem and needed a psychiatrist. I pondered what she said for a long time without ever coming to a conclusion. Then I read Good and Angry and discovered she may have made a valid conclusion.

Dr. David Powlison pulls no punches in Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness. Though he allows there may be some BWA's (But What About____?), as he calls them, even those fall before his thorough and compassionate addressing of sinful anger. He uses clear, biblical definitions, real-life examples, and soul-searching Scriptures to bring readers to the point they can no longer run and hide from this deep-seated sin.

For me, it was as though he plunged the knife of the Word of God deep into the wound of my sin and exposed all the ugliness and disease hiding under the seemingly healthy surface. And, frankly, I didn't like it at all. This is hard for me to admit, but I think I got angry! Yet, Dr. Powlison helped me to see, though anger can be an instrument of good in the heart of the right person -- God's heart and the hearts of those He redeems --, most of what passes for righteous indignation is really only us trying to play God. Ouch! He also helped me to understand that anger is not always the beginning of this sin. It often begins with simply having our own will crossed, the common irritations of life which can lead to angry outbursts. Like I said, he leaves nowhere to run and hide.

I kept reading, however, not only because of a deadline to have this review posted, but also because Dr. Powlison held out hope all along the way that unrighteous anger can be redeemed in the hands of the Redeemer. Though I have not thoroughly worked through everything as outlined in Good and Angry, the work of God in my heart has begun. I fully intend to read it again more slowly and take the time to do the "Making It Your Own" exercises at the end of each chapter.

Since Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness is such a thorough study in personal holiness, I believe it would be perfect for Bible study groups who are willing to probe the deeper levels of the heart and move on to a more mature Christian walk. Also, since anger is often a root sin of other debilitating ills in society, this would, consequently, be an excellent, biblically sound reference and resource for Christian counselors and ministers.

We can only make a difference in our own part of the world by facing our own sins and finding redemption through the truth of God's word. In Good and Angry, Dr. Powlison holds out that hope for finally finding peace regarding sinful anger, the hope we have in Christ to make a difference both in our own lives and the lives of those around us.