MAD: Seeing Your Anger with the Clarity of God’s Word – (19,300 words) Anger is our most common temptation. When we take in the full breadth of the manifestations of anger, it makes sense because we know about our struggle with anger, and we’ve seen it too many times in others. The parent who expels air in frustration over the child who placed that final straw on the camel’s back because of the child’s multiple blunders throughout the day is expressing anger. The friend who rolls their eyes self-righteously looks down on someone, expressing anger. The preacher who hears one more complaint from a church member will say nothing to the grumbler but “murders” them in his heart, an unguarded habituation in sinful anger. Then there are our marriages, the most well-worn battleground where all our skirmishes are always in view. Marriage is an unbreakable covenant where our strengths and weaknesses become the opportunity to put on Christ or respond with our preferred anger iteration.
In this book, I’m addressing our most common foe and the battleground of our hearts where anger finds its power. I hope you will do as I have done by making this book a devotional that points to you rather than thinking about how much someone else needs to read these things. Perhaps you’re right; they must know what’s between these covers. After you digest it and do the hard, soul-searching work of identifying and disassembling your idols, you will be in the proper humble posture to give them a copy. How marvelous would it be for a friend to care so much to provide them with medicine for their souls! But first, will you follow my lead? This book is for all of us, and we want to be our first counselee. So sit back. Read expectantly. Ask the Spirit of God to illuminate those places that require such light, and beg Him to break into any complex and crusty places.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
Unless I say otherwise, all references in this book to anger speak of sinful, unrighteous anger. I say this to thwart any impulse for someone to say, “Hey, what about righteous anger?” However, because there can be a reflexive response that blows past sinful anger because we want to label it as righteous, I will begin this book talking about righteous anger to know how to distinguish between the excellent and evil types of anger. It won’t hurt to rethink and re-examine how we view our righteous anger. As I have re-examined my anger, there have been times when I realized it was not as righteous as I had hoped. How did I know this? I asked the recipients of my anger, which nearly always was a family member. Though I did not see what I said as sinful, the way it landed on them told another story. The righteous anger of Jesus was not like mine. Perhaps you may find an opportunity to rethink and recalibrate your anger.
I am grateful you’re reading this book. My one appeal is that you treat it not as your typical book. Let me modify what I mean. Like my other books, this one is a workbook. Most people who read books place them in short-term memory while highlighting a few helpful quotes. This book will be just like that if you read without stopping, reflecting, reacting, and possibly repenting. I have added calls to action at the end of each chapter. I don’t want my readers just to read, but I want them to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:13) as they go through each chapter. Perhaps you will need to sit and soak in a chapter for a day or two. Maybe you want to throw in a writing assignment or talk to a close friend—the more, the merrier. This book will work with you proportionally to the work you put into it. And if you have anger problems, you will experience remarkable change by the end—if you do the work.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy the ride. I am very grateful you would take the time for such a vital endeavor.