QUICK HIT: Gary Chapman’s Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion is an important and vital read that redeems a much-maligned God-given part of our identity as images of God. This book is a paradigm shifter that will completely change how to react toward your own anger and the anger of others.
Anger gets a bad rap. It’s often pictured as wild, out of control, and consuming. Think about the latest Disney movie, Inside Out. Anger is depicted as short (denoting little patience), red (a fiery, bold color), gruff, and easily knocked out of control. But if anger could be a good thing? With that bold premise, Gary Chapman, best known for his Five Love Languages books, tackles the topic of anger and how to control it.
Gary Chapman’s first couple of chapters builds the argument that anger is not inherently negative, but can be controlled and tamed and released positively. Anger, he writes, is something that we experience because we are made in the image of God and God experiences anger as well. However, God’s anger is wholly positive and just, an appropriate reaction to sin or injustice. We, as fallen creatures, have perverted anger to make it something negative and petty.
Anger, therefore, should stem from our sense of moral concern. It should arise in us when our sense of morality is shaken. He talks about the righteous anger of Jesus, the anger against drunk driving that led to the creation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the anger against slavery that led to its abolition, and more. Anger, properly controlled, is a powerful force for good.
The following chapters deal with difference aspects of anger, from how to control and release good anger to how to control and restrain bad anger. Chapman also discusses specific relationships: anger against God, anger against a spouse, even anger against oneself. He covers both quick-tempered anger that builds quickly and festering grudges that slowly poison. One of my favorite chapters his chapter on teaching children how to handle anger (it applies to us older ones too!). The closing chapter also does a great job in explaining best practices for dealing with angry people (an excellent resource for anyone in the service industry!).
Each chapter (after the first two) ends with a Quick Take recap that summarizes and distills the content down into its bare bones structure. For example his quick take on handling anger:
- Consciously acknowledge to yourself that you are angry.
- Restrain your immediate response.
- Locate the focus of your anger.
- Analyze your options.
- Take constructive action.
Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion is an important and vital read that redeems a much-maligned God-given part of our identity as images of God. This book is a paradigm shifter that will completely change how to react toward your own anger and the anger of others.