Would you say that you have a problem with anger?
Or even just that you sometimes experience anger?
It's not something that we like to talk about, much less admit, but when we read the definition of anger, it probably makes us all cringe a bit:
We experience strong feelings of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility on a daily basis!
when that driver cuts us off on the interstate
when the child who's old enough to know better does it again
when our spouse does the same old thing again
when the customer service person is unreasonable
when the wait at the doctor's office is too long
when the political posts on Facebook are too much
when the waitress takes too long bringing the drinks
when the pictures on Insta show places we should have been
Just daily life can be annoying...and can make us angry.
But friends? What I've learned is that anger can only come out of me if anger is already in me. Life circumstances, as annoying as they may be, can only reveal what is already going on in my heart.
And as it turns out, anger doesn't always manifest itself in yelling or rages. It can, sure, but it can only show its ugly head through passive aggressive silences, or resentment. Anger isn't always hot - it can be cold as ice, too. It can show up through sarcasm, or gossip, or complaining. Withdrawal and silence, or shades of indifference. When we feel envy and jealousy, anger is never far behind.
You see, I think someone who claims not to struggle with anger probably hasn't taken a close enough look at their heart.
I'll be gut level honest with you: I hide my fear behind anger, and it's not pretty.
So when I got a copy of Ed Welch's newest book A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace, I sort of gave God the stink-eye. He has done a great work in my heart over the past decade in this area, but He's clearly not done with me yet.
As it turns out, this little book of 50 daily meditations is a breath of fresh air. Ed Welch doesn't pull any punches when it comes to dealing with our anger, and the ways that sin manifests itself in our life....but he doesn't hesitate to point us back to the gospel of grace that frees us from the weight of our anger.
They're short, each little daily reading; and they're full of Scripture and deserve to be read again and again. I even think they could be perfect for a family devotional. Ed Welch has done it again: provided us an excellent, theologically and Scripturally sound resource to deal with a problem common to all of us, but that's often left untouched in religious circles. I'm ever thankful for his leadership and writing!