Book Review – Good and Angry by David Powlison

Title: Good and Angry:  Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness
Author: David Powlison
Publisher: New Growth Press
Publishing Year: 2016
Pages: 246
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

This is one of those books that I’d like to say I read for a friend…  But, anger is an issue that has been in my family probably as long as it has been in existence.  So, it easy to excuse it away.  Not only does it come natural, it just seems right.  Getting angry, at its core, is a fight against injustice, so of course I’m going to get angry.  But, in the past few months the Lord has been convicted me of this sin that pushes away others and builds up my own pride.  With all of this in mind, I was excited about the chance to review Good and Angry for all of you.

I was disappointed in the book.  It’s not what I thought it would be.  I was looking for some practical tips of how to control the rage that sometimes bubbles up within me.  I was looking for ways to keep myself under control when everything inside of me wants to be out of control.  This was not that book.

Yet, what I found was that while this was not the book I wanted, it was indeed the book I needed.  Good and Angry taught me that my whole concept of anger needed to change.   For so long I have viewed anger as some sort of foreign entity that somehow resides in my body and from time to time surges up.  I was looking to control and force.  Yet, now I am coming to understand that anger is not something merely within me, it is me!

Powlison writes, “Usually angry people and those who give them advice focus on only one part of what is going on in anger.  And, curiously, the part they focus on is not you.  Anger becomes something that is happening to you or in you.  You deal with “it,” or harness “it,” or liberate “it,” or manage “it,” or rid yourself of “it.”  But you are not intrinsically responsible for “it.”  “It” is going on inside of you, but you aren’t doing it… One key to getting anger straight is to understand that when you are angry, you are doing something.  Anger is not an “it.”  Anger is not just one part of you.  Anger does not “happen” to you.  You do anger.”

That one little paragraph changed my entire perspective on anger and how I deal with my sin.  This entire book is a game-changer.  Very few books blow me away, but this one did for sure.  Good and Angry breaks apart the DNA of anger and helps us to see it at a basic level which then allows us to see its cause and core.  Then, Powlison takes on a journey to see anger not as a problem, but as an attribute of God meant for good.  Yes, anger can be a good thing when put in the right perspective with the right motive.  Anger does not have to lead to sin, though we are so accustomed to only think of it from that perspective.  Actually, patience and mercy may flow from the angry heart.

While Good and Angry does not offer tips such as counting to ten or punching a pillow, the book is filled with practical tips that will challenge your assumptions and take you the Word of God to see God’s intent and design.  This book was convicting on a deep level, but left me encouraged and inspired to rethink how I approach this entire subject.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

Purchase the book for yourself here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

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