Every emotion is powerful and potentially stressful. But nothing so poisons the mind and sours the soul as uncontrolled anger and resentment. Failure to effectively deal with these emotions in a godly way, and failure to forgive others will increase stress and promote bitterness.
Scripture says it all:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31–32)
EPM has long recommended the excellent ministry of CCEF, the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. I deeply appreciate their faculty members, including David Powlison, and over the years have recommended his books, including Speaking Truth in Love and Breaking the Addictive Cycle.
David has a new book that I think will benefit many. Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness is a remarkably penetrating treatment of a vital but neglected subject. I kept underlining profound statements, including “Anger is not an it…anger does not happen to you…the whole person does anger.” Powlison’s insights on patience, forgiveness, mercy, and grace are invaluable. He unapologetically addresses God’s anger against sin, while helping us look at our own anger, which is often less righteous than we suppose. Still, he validates good anger.
Here’s just one insight from the book:
When anger goes astray, it says something about how we are going astray inside, about who is the center of the universe. When anger runs amok into temper, grousing, or bitterness, you don’t just need a technique to calm yourself down. You don’t just need your circumstances to change. You don’t just need other people to change. Your core motives must change. The god you worship (my will be done, my kingdom come…or else) must be overthrown.
This book reflects a big view of God, never pitting one divine attribute against another. Powlison’s discussion of the weaknesses of the misguided perception about anger toward God being healthy is a breath of fresh air. I personally benefited from this outstanding book, and highly recommend it.
David shares more about why he wrote Good and Angry, and his hopes for readers:
If you or someone in your family struggles with anger…or irritation, complaining, or bitterness, I encourage you to read Good and Angry. I think you’ll find it a great help.