From the blog: How do you uproot anger?

I recently finished a book called Uprooting Anger and wanted to share one chapter in particular where author Robert Jones gives some practical strategies and steps for change regarding anger (or really any sin).

They are:

  1. Repent of the evil desires that produce your angry behavior and receive God’s forgiving, enabling grace. No thorough and lasting progress will be made apart from an extensive invasion of the ungodly root system (88).
  2. Own responsibility for your angry behavior and identify it as evil before God and man.
  3. Confess and renounce your angry behavior before God and others. Once you see your angry words and actions for what they are, you must confess and renounce them as evil (Prov. 28:13; Acts 24:16) (90).
  4. Believe anew in Christ and his gospel promises to angry people.
  5. Commit yourself to taking active, concrete steps to replace your angry behavior with Christlike words and actions (self-control: Prov 16:32, 25:28, 29:11; Gal 5:23 and godly speech: Prov 10:19-21, 31-32, 12:18, 15:1; Eph 4:25-32) (91).
  6. Establish and carry out a workable temptation plan.  (a) avoid unnecessary occasions that tempt you to show anger, (b) remove yourself when possible, as quickly as possible, from explosive situations, (c) in the midst of the temptation, ask Christ for strength, and recite key verses or biblical truths you have memorized, (d) enlist mature believers to pray for you, counsel you, hold you accountable, and be available during and after crises (this is perhaps the most humbling of all the steps), and (e) keep a log or journal of personal anger incidents.
  7. Continue to prayerfully study Scripture, and Scripture-based resources, on relevant topics.

In addition, you can find a review by Tim Challies here.  And just in case you needed some persuasion to read this book here is an excerpt from Challies’ review:

While admittedly this is the only book I’ve read on this topic, I can’t imagine one that could be better. Jerry Bridges says “Every Christian ought to prayerfully read this book and apply its teaching.” As is usually the case, I agree with Bridges. This book will help the reader escape the bondage of anger and find freedom in peace.

Robert D. Jones, Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help For A Common Problem (Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness (Phillipsburg, NJ: New Growth, 2005), 88-94.

One thought on “From the blog: How do you uproot anger?

  1. I’ve been thinking about these posts of yours on anger for quite a while as I’ve spent a bit of time over the past couple years or so learning about some research into the human brain and how damage to it affects behavior. If I were counseling, I think I would also look hard at the physical and environmental factors the person struggling with anger may be, or have been, exposed to. I wanted to point you to a couple articles I recommend reading as they change how I look at people’s behavior. One is from The Atlantic highlighting recent neuroscience. Even just having played high school football could have given a person enough subtle brain damage to make him more susceptible to anger and violence than the average person (other research along these lines has contributed to my no longer supporting/watching football). Another is this recent article by Kevin Drum on how it appears researchers may have finally found the link between the decline in the U.S. violent crime rate from 1980s to today–lead. I highly recommend these as food for thought.

    I’m also reading Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow, which highlights people’s cognitive biases (and how to overcome them). I think a lot of people’s anger stems from frustrations due to “wrong thinking,” where their cognitive biases create some blindspots. The irony is the Challies quote above is an example of one such bias “I can’t imagine a (book about anger) being better.”

    Anyway, just felt compelled to share. Blessings.

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