BOOK REVIEW: GOOD & ANGRY by David Powlison

Book Review: Good and Angry
Sep 29, 2016 | Erik Raymond

Writing a book on anger would seem to be a recipe for trouble. After all, you are bound to make some people upset! Thankfully, David Powlison maintains a steady, faithful hand in his treatment of the subject in his new book, Good & Angry. The subtitle helps flesh this out a bit: redeeming anger, irritation, complaining, and bitterness. Certainly none of us could use any help in any of these areas . . . right? Powlison is known for his helpful and convicting books. Good & Angry does not let you down.

Perhaps when you see those two words next to each other they appear out-of-place. Good and angry? Here’s the gist. God demonstrates his anger (wrath). God is also perfectly holy and pure. Therefore, anger is not inherently bad. But so often we, as fallen creatures, get angry, and it is sinful. What gives? Powlison shows us that we have an anger problem. We get angry about things we shouldn’t and not get angry at the things that we should. Thankfully, God is remaking his people to be more like his Son Jesus. There is hope for people with an anger problem.

The book divides neatly into accessible bites. But I should hasten to add, these bites are not comfortable. Like a providential and sanctified rock in the shoe, Powlison makes us a bit uncomfortable before he helps to be comforted. The sections fall into a diagnostic into personal anger (section 1), a definition of anger (section 2), a path forward (section 3), and a look at some particularly hard cases of anger (section 4).

Powlison writes winsomely about an off-putting topic. He fills the book with Bible references and explanation. He also deftly deploys illustrations and stories that make his point. Another thing about Powlison that I’ve noticed in his other books as well: you trust him. As I read I feel like he cares about the topic at hand and the reader. He spends the time to think through how to apply the principles as well as carefully handle God’s Word. I suppose this trait could be an overflow of his counseling ministry. Whatever it is, it makes reading his books a real pleasure.

Three chapters I want to recommend include:

chapter 2: Do you have a serious problem with anger? This chapter basically shows that you don’t have to be a loud person to be an angry person.

chapter 9: Good and Angry? Here we are reminded that God can be both good and angry therefore we should be after it also.

chapter 13: Eight Questions: Taking your anger apart to put you back together. These are diagnostic questions to get at the root of our anger and then help to fix the problem biblically.
Finally, the book has a number of questions at the conclusion of each chapter as well as a regular reminder to take notes and write down questions. This would make this book helpful for personal reading and small group settings.

 

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