This post is part of a series of book reviews that I have been posting on this blog. Recently I took a Biblical Counseling course at Toronto Baptist Seminary. The course requires me to read through several biblical counseling books and write a “One Main Thing Paper” in response. A “One Main Thing Paper” is a two-page reflection that identifies the author’s argument and key concepts as well as draws out and develops the one main thing that I learned from the book and can apply to my ministry. I am posting each book review in case you are interested in reading any of these books.
Uprooting Anger by Robert D. Jones
Everyone either has anger issues or knows someone who does. Anger is a prevalent problem in our fallen world. However, the solution to the sin of anger is not simply acknowledging it and trying harder the next time to keep it under control. Robert D. Jones, in his book, Uprooting Anger, “explores the roots of sinful anger and discovers its final cause to lie not in one’s situation but in one’s inner beliefs and motives.” He begins by defining anger as “our whole-personed active response of negative moral judgment against perceived evil.” Thus, anger is something we do, not something we have. God’s Word classifies anger into the following three biblical categories: divine anger, human righteous anger, and human sinful anger.
Jones gives three criteria to determine whether or not our anger is righteous. Righteous anger (both divine and human) (1) reacts against actual sin, (2) focuses on God and his kingdom, and (3) is accompanied by other godly qualities and expresses itself in godly ways. When we evaluate our anger against these three criteria, more often than not we discover that our anger is sinful. In order to uproot this sinful anger, one must get to the heart of it. James 4:1-3 teaches that our anger stems from the sinful desires that reside in our hearts. When these desires are unmet, the heart’s response is often anger. In other words, when we don’t get what we want, we get angry. Jones explains that the solution to our anger involves biblical repentance. We must turn away from our sinful desires and toward the God that grants us forgiving and enabling grace. Thus, in order to repent and change our behavior, we must first determine whether we tend to reveal our anger or conceal our anger. According to Jones, “Revealing [anger] methods consist of various ways we let others know and feel our anger. Concealing tactics hide our anger from others, though the anger itself remains.” For both categories of anger, Jones offers a 7 step process for change. The process is gospel-centered and involves confession, repentance, prayer, and Scripture study. The final few chapters of Jones’ book deal with our anger against God and ourselves, how we can help others have victory over their anger, and concludes by reminding the reader why it is so important that we deal with our anger.
The one main thing that I will take away from this book is the importance of remembering that the sin of anger can result in both revealed anger and concealed anger. As someone in ministry that is sometimes involved in counseling, I found Chapters 5 and 6 to be the most helpful. What usually comes to mind when I think about the sin of anger are forms of revealed anger. I think of outbursts of anger that involve words and actions. However, concealed anger can be just as dangerous and deadly because often times it remains below the surface and unresolved. Jones writes, “Unresolved anger and unreconciled relationships further Satan’s agenda of shredding the church’s unity.” Thinking about anger in terms of these two categories will helps us better understand how to minister to people that struggle with anger. Moreover, the 7 step processes that Jones gives to help people deal with their revealed and concealed anger are ones that I will file away for future use. They are very practical steps that someone can take to repent of their anger and experience God’s forgiving and enabling grace as a result.
 Robert D. Jones, Uprooting Anger (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing Company, 2005), 11.
 Ibid., 15.
 Ibid., 18.
 Ibid., 29.
 Ibid., 78.
 Ibid., 100.