I would consider myself even-tempered. If confronted with the question, “Do you have an anger problem?”, I would likely say I do not. That was until I read David Powlison’s latest book Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness. This book is a heart-exposing, clarifying work. It exposes the reader to the sinful motives of their heart while also showing that anger can be and produce good when it is handled rightly.
The book is divided up into four sections. Biblical surgeon David Powlison begins by making the case we all have anger issues. The problem is not anger itself but how we handle anger. Anger is a complex thing and with the claim we all have anger issues, Powlison takes the next section to define anger and elaborate on the effect of anger on the whole person. In this section, Powlison is clear we often respond with anger sinfully and, sadly, do not get angry at injustices we do see in a fallen world. The last two chapters of the second section point to the character of God, particularly to the wrath of God, on how to be good and angry. With the hope we are redeemable as our anger is redeemable (Powlison 122), Powlison moves into section three where he lays out eight questions on how we can identify our problem and make steps toward the process of change. The book ends with section four, which tackles the hard cases of never getting over a circumstance or person, of everyday anger issues, of anger to self, and of anger at God.
In the opening pages of the book, Powlison states, “My chief goal in this book is to teach you how to more fruitfully and honestly deal with your anger” (Powlison 2). In only seventeen chapters, Powlison seems to equip the reader to begin the process. Powlison sets the tone of the book “as an honest conversation about something that really matters” (Powlison 3). In that vein, the “Making It Your Own” sections at the conclusion of each chapter reiterates this conversation and calls for the reader to engage and apply the truth they are learning. The book does not seek to give a technique, strategy, or insight fool-proof method. Rather, it’s desire is to point you to the light of God’s Word. Good and Angry reminds the reader the problem is not anger itself but the human heart which stores such anger. For this reason, this book is a heart-exposing, biblically-clarifying book. There should be righteous anger and right response to the injustices we see in a fallen world. We see our God as an example of that and how His anger is revealed in the gospel. Because of the gospel, our anger is redeemable. We do not have to live a lifestyle of sinful anger. By God’s grace, we can learn how to handle anger rightly.
Good and Angry is book about your anger. It will open your eyes to identifying your anger problem. It will call you to confession and change. I plan on re-reading through this book in the future with an accountability partner. This book is likely to be best used when it is read with others in an open and trusting community. James 1:19 says we ought to be “slow to anger”. I encourage you to be slow while reading this book. The way Powlison writes and drives the reader back to Scripture will encourage the reader to reflect and take their time in listening and applying. Simply put, I wholeheartedly recommend Good and Angry by David Powlison to any Christian who struggles with anger, which is all of us.
I received this book for free from New Growth Press via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.