Second Reformed Church

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review: "Good & Angry"

Good & Angry:  Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David Powlison.
I suspect most people would be willing to make the distinction between being righteously angry and being sinfully angry – being angry for the right reasons and in the right way, and being angry for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way.
In the first six chapters of this book, Powlison reviews this distinction and shows that every reader of his book has been angry and has been angry badly.
Good anger – righteous anger – Powlison argues is accomplished through what Powlison calls “the constructive displeasure of mercy.”  In chapters seven through ten, Powlison explains that anger should be a displeasure about something – something out to appear to us to be wrong, sinful, evil.  Once we identify what this thing is, we ought to respond – mercifully and constructively.  Shining a light on what is wrong and working for the correction or rehabilitation of that which is wrong.  A mere screed is not helpful, nor is it good anger.
How does one change such that one produces good anger?
Chapters eleven through thirteen discuss this work of maturity.  Powlison pens eight questions to put to one’s anger to bring the reader to a place of good anger.  This section is one to practice over and over again, so when one is taken aback, one does not shoot off with bad anger, but through practiced and prayerful preparation, one offers good anger in such a situation.
Powlison ends his book with three “problem” sections – how to get over wrong anger and hurt, how to stop being wrongfully angry with yourself, and how to stop being wrongfully angry with God.  Each to these he carefully guides the reader through taking apart the issue and facing what is really real.
Powlison mentions it took years to write this book, and I believe it.  It is a manual of thought and work to bring the reader to a natural state of good anger.  This is not an easy discipline, but a worthwhile one.  This is a very worthwhile book.  One worth reading over and over and working with.  It is one I will come back to as I work to throw off bad anger.
 [I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This review appears on my blog and on]

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