In a post for the FFBS blog, Karl Krayer discusses a thoughtful and thought-provoking book by Bill Perkins, When Good Men Get Angry: The Spiritual Art of Managing Anger. Krayer acknowledges being an “angry man” and needing to “get over it.” I read the book soon after it was published (December 2009) and have intended to review it long before now. (I am among those who are paving the road to hell.) That said, I am grateful to him for reminding me of Perkins’ book and am now re-reading it as well as an earlier Perkins book, Six Battles Every Man Must Win: . . . and the Ancient Secrets You’ll Need to Succeed, also published by Tynedale House (2004).
I am now re-reading When Good Men Get Angry and will review it soon. Meanwhile, here are reactions to some of the information and insights that Perkins shares.
o I agree with Perkins that we cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to what happens to us. Indeed, how we manage our anger will determine if it is a positive or negative force. (He also discusses this in 6 Rules Every Man Must Break, in a chapter entitled, “The Rule of Restraint . . . Never Lose Your Cool.”) However, Perkins reminds us that a young carpenter from Nazareth was so enraged by moneylenders doing business inside a temple that he overturned their tables and ran them off. Anger really can result in doing what is right, doing what must be done.
o Whereas Krayer refers to “getting over” anger, Perkins seems to be suggesting that we manage it and perhaps neutralize it. If not resolved, irritation can become anger and then anger becomes rage. Much (if not most) of the violence that occurs throughout the world could be avoided if those irritated were more emotionally stable and did not allow their irritation to become anger and then rage.
o Perkins also warns his readers that, more often than not, enraged people are spiritually deficient, that those who carry a grudge are socially dysfunctional. They need professional assistance with anger management but when that is suggested, they often become (you guessed it) outraged.
What does Perkins suggest? Here’s what I found: “As I traveled the country addressing the subject of anger I discovered there are a lot of men who need a resource to help them process and express their anger in a healthy way. That realization prompted me to write this book. Like When Good Men are Tempted, it’s based on the idea that as followers of Christ we’re new and good men because of our identity in him. The purpose of the book is to provide men with the insight needed to process and express their anger as Jesus would. With that in mind I read every book I could find on anger. I then identified the six key anger issues and provide the reader with an understanding of each of them. By using real life counseling/coaching sessions I provide the practical insight needed to understand the source of anger and how to successfully deal with it. While it’s a short book, every word is important and I think the reader will glean life-changing insights.”
Whether or not they share Perkins’ articles of faith, many men can be guided and informed by his insights and manage their anger rather than become hostage to it.