I recently read a secular book titled, Anger Management: How to Control Your Anger and Get the Most out of Life, by Amish Shah. In it, the author attempts to give the reader tools with which to manage one’s anger, in order to live a happier life.
Shah begins by explaining that anger itself is not wrong, but that because of how people naturally express anger in outward, often violent ways, people have been conditioned to suppress and try to ignore their anger. Shaw says, though, that it is not healthy to hold your anger inside – that you have to let it out somehow. However, Shah says that throwing things, stomping around, screaming and hurting other people are not correct ways to handle one’s anger. Thus, Shah explains how to handle and manage one’s anger in “healthier” ways, which in turn will lead to a happier life.
However, while Shah rejects certain ways of handling one’s anger, he really never gives an explanation of why it is not okay to handle one’s anger in these ways. He assumes it is unhealthy, and that harming other people is wrong, but he has no foundation on which to base these assumptions.
Because he does not have a biblical viewpoint, Shah misattributes symptoms to the wrong issues. For instance, he says that the widespread issue of child abuse, as well as the domestic murder of children, such as “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” are a direct result of not knowing how to manage one’s anger. This is the source of domestic violence, and, Shah says, it is a learned behavior. If a parent does not manage his anger, and this leads to domestic violence, the children of that family will grow up to repeat the same poor management actions of their parents, unless they earn to manage their anger correctly.
Shah’s lack of a biblical worldview causes him to miss the fact that these things are in the world because of sin, and the will continue to happen because people are sinful. The only issue is to deal with our sin by turning to Christ.
Because there is no addressing of the heart, there can be no real change. Shah’s entire book focuses on behavior modification, such as avoiding things that trigger one’s anger, and controlling how you react to those things when you cannot avoid them. Thus, there is no true solution that gets to the heart of the issue, which is an issue of the heart.
Shah offers some practical tips on recognizing and redirecting anger in yourself and your children, but offers no solutions as to how to enact true change in yourself or in others. The book offers no real answer to the question, “How can I get over this?” Rather, it leaves the reader a helpless victim of his anger, with only a few simple tools to suppress or redirect the anger, with absolutely no real victory over a sinful response to circumstances.
Until we turn to Christ to ask Him to take away the guilt, penalty and power of sin, we can never experience true victory over our sin.