As books about important life topics continue to proliferate, there is an increasing divide between two types—those that are deeply biblical and those that are profoundly practical. When the two meet in a single volume it's usually just to exchange a quick "Hello!" and move on to their respective spheres as though to be caught on the same page were a sin worse than the one being addressed by the volume in question.
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem is not that kind of book. Robert Jones has managed to write something that is both deeply biblical and profoundly practical on every page—something, therefore, that will actually help those who read it to see the sinful anger in their own lives and root it out with God's help.
He begins with a description of anger: "our whole-personed active response of negative moral judgment against perceived evil" (page 15). This might seem like a mouthful, but Jones breaks it down to its essential parts, and reveals that both our anger and God's anger, both our sinful anger and our righteous anger, support this definition. He also demonstrates biblically that most of the time our anger is not righteous, and to call it righteous is to add to our sin.
The root of anger, Jones contends, is in the heart. It is there that we harbor our sinful desires, which are often no more than desires for good things turned into idolatrous single-minded yearning. Combating anger, then, is a matter of uprooting it from the heart by repenting of our sinful desires and replacing them with godly ones. But we have to pull up the roots—just like dandelions come back time and again if we leave their roots buried, so anger will return again and again if we don't deal with its source.
Jones uses constant biblical references and illustrations to make and prove his points, as well as fictional illustrations that are clearly drawn from real stories of his work as a counselor and pastor. While there's a lot of content here (Jones doesn't waste words), there's also quite a bit of humor and a comfortable writing style to assist the reader.
The final chapter offers three crucial reasons we must deal with our sinful anger: to avoid physical and spiritual disease, to maintain our human relationships, and to please and glorify God. Two appendices offer several "assignments" to help readers assess their anger and track their progress in extricating themselves from it, as well as a close look at two texts (Ephesians 4:26 and Hebrews 12:15) which deal with anger.
For those who struggle with anger, or for pastors guiding those who struggle with anger, this book is invaluable. Jones deals with all angles of the issue—sinful revealing and sinful concealing of anger, anger at others, anger at ourselves, anger at God, attempts to blame anger on others or on circumstances, etc. At every stage he looks to the Word of God for guidance, and what he finds is of lasting value both for those who are angry and for those they are angry against.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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