20 Quotes from Ed Welch’s “A SMALL BOOK ABOUT A BIG PROBLEM” [Anger]

Last night, I was drawn back into Ed Welch’s excellent (and convicting) little book, which I had read when it first came out. Paging through A Small Book about a Big Problem, I reviewed all of the sentences that I had underlined. Doing so was like inviting a seasoned counselor into my living room for a chat. And retyping some of those sentences here served to be a good self-counseling exercise for my heart. I think these will help you, too:

  1. “Everyone has both been destroyed by someone’s anger and done some destroying. We are sitting on a bomb and, when it goes off, bad things happen.”
  2. “[A]nger specializes in indicting others but is unskilled at both self-indictment and love.”
  3. When we are angry, we “want something—peace, money, respect—and we aren’t getting it. The only difference is in our choice of weapons. Some use guns, others use words.”
  4. “Gossip is the judge who publicizes his or her verdict and tries to convince others to pronounce the same verdict.”
  5. “Anger looks down from the judge’s perch; wisdom comes down from those heights and looks up from below. Humility captures it.”
  6. “If we are servants of Jesus, we take less offense when people wrong us. We think instead, How can I represent my Master now?
  7. “Love is the opposite of anger. Anger is disdain, hatred, and contempt.”
  8. “Anger is not something that comes upon us when an offense is committed. Anger is already in us. In its embryonic form we call it desire.”
  9. “The path toward foolishness is easy. All you have to do is follow your desires. But anger is on that path. It has short-term perks—we feel as though we have power and control—but that is a mirage. In the end, you will be miserable, overpowered by your own anger, and your relationships will be in tatters.”
  10. “In our anger, we think we see clearly—much clearer than most people. We are certain that we are right and just. All we see is our righteousness and someone else’s injustices done against us.”
  11. “Anger is against God because he is the one who directs the details of our lives. In fact, in our anger and outrage, we have decided that we want to be God rather than submit to him.”
  12. “When rejection comes our way, and it will come, the humble are certainly hurt, but they stay the course.”
  13. “If you are casual about anger and unprepared, you will lose and so will those around you.”
  14. “Anger shows contempt. You are better than they. You are smarter, more righteous—you are above and they are below. Anger tears down. It kills relationships.”
  15. “Anger looks like Satan…and it summons him. So anger is not just about our desires that have gotten out of control. Anger is also a partnership with Satan, who is a murderer (John 8:44).”
  16. “Control and power are heady matters, and anger is the drug that seems to give access to them. Who would want to give it up?”
  17. “What makes us so important that life must go according to our plans? We cannot script the events in our lives. When life throws us unexpected trouble, an arrogant person gets angry because his or her ‘kingly rights’ have been violated. A servant who realizes his insignificance, however, responds ‘If the Lord wills.’”
  18. “Some families, and even some ethnic groups, boast about how they can be fighting fiercely one minute and hugging the next, as if that is a good thing. It is not.”
  19. “Anger takes everything personally, as if everything is an intentional act to make your life miserable.”
  20. “When you are fully confident that your Father is just, you know that injustice will not prosper. You will not become angry when offenses are committed against you because you will leave it in his hands.”

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:31-32)

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