Thursday, May 09, 2019

"Anger: Calming Your Heart" by Robert D. Jones [Book Review]

Anger: Calming Your Heart (31-Day Devotionals for Life)Anger: Calming Your Heart by Robert D. Jones

Robert D. Jones has written yet another incisive book that I wish I didn’t need so much.

Anger: Calming Your Heart is the newest installment in the 31-Day Devotionals for Life series which is shaping up to be one of the most helpful set of resources out there today providing biblical counsel for life change. This one in particular is really good.

They picked the right guy to help readers deal with their anger. Bob is an expert. I was an early admirer of his first book on anger (Uprooting Anger, 2006), and this one contains that same wisdom now distilled into short readings that get right to the heart of the matter and then move quickly into practical application to help you change. Don’t be fooled by the brevity. There is a lot of gold buried in them thar hills.

The greatest strength of Anger: Calming Your Heart is the biblical precision with which Bob treats his subject. Bob cuts through the cultural fog that surrounds this topic with clear definitions and biblical nuance. He knows what anger truly is, where it goes wrong, and what we are supposed to do about it.

My favorite aspect of the book is that Bob presents multiple godly alternatives to sinful anger. He doesn’t just urge repentance but also shows us the many righteous routes we can take instead. There is a whole week of readings that start “Don’t Get Mad; Get ___________!” I really needed those.

I also dog-eared several entries on righteous anger which was exemplified by Jesus Christ. Bob calls Him, “The Perfectly Angry Man.” By comparing my anger to Jesus’ anger, I was better able to assess how often my heart and ways are so often skewed in the wrong directions and proportions. My anger does not measure up. Thankfully, Bob shares that the same Person Who is my perfect example is also my sacrificial Savior who provides the pardon for my sinful anger.

At times, this book doesn’t always feel “devotional.” My friend Bob is a teacher at heart, and while each chapter is eminently practical, it is not always as warm and welcoming as I would have preferred. Of course, I don’t always need “warm and welcoming” as much as I need “incisive and transformative.” Bob certainly does not see himself as above the reader and often turns the illustrative spotlight back onto himself revealing his own failures and room for growth. Bob knows that we must deal with our anger, so he does not coddle.

Bob has been a mentor in ministry for me now for two decades, and this book reminds me why. It is brimming with concise, precise, and incisive wisdom for a problem we all have. I will be giving it out to others liberally and returning to it again and again.

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