JULY 10, 2018
Over the past few weeks I have been reading Edward Welch’s new book A small book about a big problem. Although I wouldn’t have described myself as someone who struggled with anger this book has revealed how much and how often I do fall short in this area.
All in all it is a book that I recommend everyone read. It is a short book with fifty very short chapters. Designed to help you focus each day on a various aspect of anger, patience and peace. I truly appreciate Welch’s approach in helping people grow in this area.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this book is its long-term focus. Welch isn’t interested in short-term fixes but rather focuses on the heart and teaches the reader to realize that the fight against anger is a life-long fight.
At the end of the book he offers fifteen encouragements. Fifteen different examples that the reader can hang onto so that he can see growth in his sanctification. These specifically apply to the problem of anger, but I thought they provide a helpful blueprint for dealing with any sin. We should be constantly fighting against sin, and going to war with particular sins in our lives. These fifteen examples will prove helpful in our ability to notice growth when going to war against our flesh.
- You walk out of a conflict because you know that you could do or say something destructive. You plan to address it when you are better prepared.
- You have read all of these short devotionals up to this point.
- You have asked someone to pray for you about your anger.
- You have asked someone’s forgiveness for blowing up at him or her.
- You can give persuasive reasons for why you want to take a stand against your anger.
- You are talking to the Lord, just a little bit more, with simple honesty and openness.
- You can identity those desires that have become idolatrous desires, and you have spoken about them with someone else.
- You have a plan to follow when anger is rising in you.
- You thank people. It’s hard to be angry at people you are thankful for.
- You are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel focuses on forgiveness of sins but is crammed with the character and grace of God.
- You have Jesus in view. He leads us to have zero tolerance for our anger, and he embodies how we aim to love more than want to be loved.
- You feel bad when you give way to anger, but instead of simply feeling bad, you do something about it.
- You notice the more subtle versions of anger, such as complaining, defensiveness, or judging others.
- You can identify some of anger’s opposites, such as humility, self-control, hassles-as-opportunities, and love, and rest in your father’s commitment to justice.
- You can identify you top two sins and are confident that your sins are forgiven. You can also say “thank you” because you know that the Spirit reveals sin in order to bring you into richer communion and fellowship with God.
I appreciated this list because Welch offers it as an encouragement to the reader. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with our sin, but this list does a good job of helping the reader know that he is growing and that the Holy Spirit is working in his life.
We are not after perfection in this life, but we are after growth. If we are not growing in sanctification then we are not alive. If there is no sanctification there is no salvation. Lists like these are helpful in reminding us to fight sin and to look for signs of life in our walk with Christ.
I hope you get a chance to read the book in its entirety so that you can see growth in your life when it comes to anger, because whether you know it or not you probably do struggle with it more than you imagine.