Book Review – Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne A. Mack

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Anger & Stress Management God's Way Book Cover Anger & Stress Management God's Way
Wayne A. Mack
P&R Publishing
April 28, 2017
Paperback
144

Anger and stress affect each of us every day—even if we aren’t feeling them ourselves, we come into contact with people who are. But their commonplace nature shouldn’t cause us to shrug them away. Anger and stress are both destroyers, and they must be controlled before they bring devastating harm.

Mack exhorts us: “You don’t have to be overcome and destroyed by ungodly anger or stress. By God’s grace, you can be an overcomer."

Of all the resources available to us, the Bible contains the most trustworthy and helpful guidance on how to handle ungodly anger and stress. Internationally respected and experienced biblical counselor Wayne Mack shows how to turn to God’s Word to find help, explaining principles that can be adopted for lasting positive change.

Includes study questions and evaluation materials.

Book Review – Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne A. Mack

I’m always a bit nervous when I see a book title with the phrase “God’s Way” in it — and there have been many of these over the years! Perhaps it’s just me, but when authors pull the “God’s Way” card, I feel as if they are cutting off any form of dialogue and insisting that they have the final infallible say on the matter. I’m not entirely sure if they are claiming that they have God’s endorsement on their words (I don’t believe this is the case), or if  by “god’s way” they mean something else that is just simply beyond my understanding. Those of you who know me know that I absolutely believe in objective truth and that there is one true meaning to scripture, but I am also an ardent believer in dialogue and in the process of working out the meaning of scripture along side a multitude of counsel. What if I happen to disagree with the author’s particular interpretation of a passage? Does that mean that I am somehow out of the bounds of orthodoxy? Needless to say this has become a pet peeve of mine because I simply don’t know how to respond or how to disagree without feeling as if somewhere, someone is going to jump out of the shadows and tell me what a horrible Christian I am. This is where Christian charity comes in and we have to assume the best about the authors (they are not claiming infallibility) while at the same time being bold when we disagree. We must affirm that disagreeing with an author is not the same as disagreeing with God himself! All of this aside, the one thing that I always look for in any book is whether or not it clearly and accurately prescribes the gospel as the one and only effective solution to the problem at hand. It is here that Wayne Mack’s latest book Anger & Stress Management God’s Way  really shines. If nothing else can be said about this book, it is that Mack relies heavily upon the gospel to transform our anger and not upon our own efforts — and yet so much more can be said because this truly is a great book!

In  Anger & Stress Management God’s Way ,  Wayne Mack begins by affirming that sometimes it is okay to be angry. There is such a thing as being good and angry. However, this is not as common as we might assume and more often than not our anger rises out of sin that is deep within us. In order to help discern the difference, Mack goes on to give five things that we can look for to help us know if we are sinning in our anger. These five traits can be summarized as a lack of forgiveness (holding onto wrongs, fretting, retaliation, etc), being dishonest about our anger, and transferring our anger to another person. Mack then moves on to helping us learn to deal with anger in such a way that we do not sin in our anger. Mack identifies two ways in which scripture teaches us to not sin in our anger. The first is to deal with our anger on an ongoing basis. The second way is to realize that despite the fact that we might be angry, we are always in control of how we respond. This can be difficult when our anger is stirred by another person, but Mack goes on to give two ways to handle offenses.  The first is to overlook the offense and the second is to approach them privately to begin a Matthew 18 resolution. Both of these sections are full of good practical ways to help us deal with on offense in a righteous manner.  In all of this, Mack is careful to not present his counsel in such a way that it leads to moralism. I really appreciate this about the book because this is precisely what differentiates Anger & Stress Management God’s Way as a Christian book and not simply another self-help book. Wayne Mack is a master at revealing how these issues are a reflection of our heart and that the only lasting solution is a new heart. At the same time, he doesn’t allow this approach to produce a hands-off approach in which the angry person simply lets go exerting no effort while waiting for God to simply remove the anger. To end the discussion on anger, Mack really begins to dig deep into the heart as he offers six questions that help us to turn our anger from a destructive to a constructive force. Far from being a prescription, these six questions lead the reader into the deep recesses of the heart in order to expose those areas which need to be sanctified. The focus isn’t on the behavior but on knowing and identifying issues of the heart.

Next Mack turns to the second (related) topic in the book –stress. Here he turns the mirror back to our hearts and shows us that stress comes from a lack of belief when we encounter the various things that trigger our stress. He shows the natural and spiritual consequences of stress, and offers two solutions to manage our stress. The first is to intentionally choose to trust in God’s sovereignty, and the second is to intentionally choose to give thanks to God in every circumstance. Again, like the previous section on anger, Mack leaves no room for the rugged individual who is going to overcome his stress apart from the transforming work of the Spirit within us.

Overall I have to admit that I was very impressed with Anger & Stress Management God’s Way , and Wayne Mack’s determined focus on the gospel as the means to transform the heart. This is why in the few areas where I may differ with Mack I do not see a need to make an issue of it. If we turn to the Christ to transform us through the gospel of his word we cannot go wrong. While brothers may disagree from time to time on minutia, we should not disagree on the transformative power of rebirth and sanctification by the means of hearing and believing the promises of God. This is what Anger & Stress Management God’s Way focuses on and in this sense it truly is God’s way. Not that the author claims to have infallible insight into the interpretation of scripture, but that God’s way is the way of his grace and not the way of merit through a disciplined moralism.

Anger & Stress Management God’s Way  is a wonderful resource for both for private and small group study. Mack pauses the discussion often throughout the book to provide application questions that point us back to the heart as the source of sin and the gospel’s sanctifying work in cleaning us up. These questions appear at the end of each chapter as well as at the end of smaller divisions within the chapters. This approach is a wonderful aid in helping us keep our focus where it needs to be and guiding the discussion along while eliminating the noise of unbiblical solutions that may creep into our minds as we move through the pages of the book. I recommend this book to all parents who want to understand where their children’s anger is coming from and how to deal with it appropriately.

Where to Purchase

Amazon | P&R Publishing  | ChristianBook.com

About the Author

Wayne Mack lives in Pretoria, South Africa, where he serves as a pastor-elder with his son-in-law and teaches biblical counseling at Strengthening Ministries Training Institute to pastors and aspiring pastors in the region. He also spends about six weeks in the USA teaching at various churches. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult children and numerous grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from P&R Publishing in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

16 thoughts on “Book Review – Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne A. Mack

  1. Aaron!! I was going to say welcome back but I see I missed your last review. The notification didn’t send again I think. You had me laughing during your intro paragraph. I completely agree!!! We were just discussing this last week after putting the kids to bed we checked email and there was a “God’s Way” book on special. We spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out what the implication was! Like you said, what if we see something differently because of our theological persuasion (Dutch Reformed) than say a Presby or Baptist? Does that mean we are heretics? Is there room to discuss our differences or is that the final word? Ahhhhhhhh!

    So anyway.

    This actually looks good! I’m always up for a book that points us to true transformation. yup. We have to put in an effort. yup. Sometimes we have to make lists. But nope. Not in my own strength. Not in in my own wisdom. Not in my own morality. I don’t finish in the flesh what I began in the spirit. No way. Been there, done that, failed.

    • Ryan I really do believe you will like this book. It’s right up your alley.

  2. Lenette

    Well you know my story. I was Catholic to the grave until I heard the gospel. I have anger even at my gold age. I also have stress. I worry a lot. I am not aware of any books called God’s Way but to me it is an all to familiar tune. In Catholicism if you claim to speak infalibly for God we call that the pope. Sometimes tradition. Or the magisterium. Thanks for reasuring me this isnt the same attitude.

    • It isn’t. The author makes no such claims despite the title! I think this book would be wonderful for you Lenette! It would be a good one to help you with your anger.

  3. Jacie

    Oh my goodness! I believe you that book is worth it and I’ll probably order it but the title is awkward like you said. It reminds me of my old pastor he was very dangerous a control freak and anyone wanted to discuss something that was preached he will reply that this is God’s way and we are being insubordinate. He’d like literally say that he does speak for God and that his understanding of the Bible is the only true meaning because he went to Seminary and study the languages and he’s the one who put all the work into the sermon. I was put on discipline because I said that I couldn’t find evidence in the Bible that his wife would be co-pastor and preach sermons to the church. At the time I was really looking for evidence because I wanted to believe it but I couldn’t find it and just because I had asked him to show me the verses he got angry and said I was no longer allowed to take communion or participate in the business meetings. I can’t believe I actually stuck around for another year after that. Well I guess I still have some anger issues because I feel them rising up when I type this so I’m just going to go over to Amazon and by this okay?

    • I’m glad you got away from that church Jacie. Wayne Mack is nothing like that. You won’t be sorry that you ordered it!

  4. Karl

    Aaron can you give an example of overlooking an offense? What if it is a great offence?

  5. Karl

    And related, does the bible ever give us a command to overlook offenses?

  6. Karl

    I’m hitting submit too soon! I keep thinking of more to say after I submit my comment. The issue isn’t necessarily forgiving but letting people wrong you without there being a consequence. Scripture speaks a lot about consequences and I know for us we have forgiveness and Christ but we still experience Earthly consequences.

    • Karl, how are you? I hear what you are saying. There is in fact a difference between forgiving and relenting of a consequence. You can establish consequences and still forgive. For example, if someone is repeatedly committing the same offense and doesn’t seem to be repentant, you will need to confront and establish boundaries.

      Starting at the bottom of page 42, Mack describes what it looks like to overlook the offense. He gives a few scriptures such as 1 Peter 4.8 (love covers multitude of sins) and Proverbs 10.12 ( hatred stirs up strife but love covers all transgressions) and Proverbs 19.11 (A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression). We also have the example of God himself who grants mercy to us each day. On page 44 he also says (quoting from one of his other books) that we should only confront someone when they are behaving in a way contrary to scripture. This means letting a lot of things slide that may be pet peeves but are not forbidden. He lays out some good guidelines too for when and how to confront. It’s worth reading. Very good stuff here.

  7. As long as we’re “voting” put me down for not a fan of the “God’s Way” marketing ploy. I’ve never read one for this very reason. But this book has me curious. When you ended your review it sounded like you may be warming up to the title because God’s way is the way of inner transformation as opposed to man’s way of therapeutic moralism. Do you think that is what’s meant by God’s way? Are all the ‘God’s Way’ titled books called that for the same reason? I’m curious more than anything else. This might be the exception but I’m not going to start reading them all now. I do struggle with stress but not so much anger. I know it’s a sin and a sign of not trusting in God but I just can’t seem to break the cycle.

    • Hi Eric, Yes I think that may be the case although I don’t have conclusive evidence of that. All this aside, the book is wonderful! I didn’t mean for the discussion of the title to take on a life of its own. My main point is of you struggle with anger or stress management this book is going to help because it points to God’s grace to help you overcome. This is a rare thing unfortunately.

  8. How much of the book deals with anger and how much with stress?

    • Not having the book in front of me right now I’m estimating 2/3 anger 1/3 stress.

  9. Matthew R.

    Maybe by God’s Way they mean that they think their interpretation is unquestionable. From what I’ve heard from most Christians they don’t care to discuss anything even when their “God’s Way” differs from another Christians “God’s way”. It’s like you all claim to believe in the same God but insist that your understanding of him is superior to any other Christians understanding of God. Even when talking about the exact same part of the bible you fight over what it means and say that the differences are small but then at the same time insist that your belief is endorsed by God. And these are just the “experts” who have all gone to college to study these things! What’s an unbeliever like myself to do? How do I decide which one God agrees with?

  10. Jordan F. Tyler

    Matthew not all Christians are like this. For instance, the Catholic Church is united in doctrine.

    Aaron, I’m actually interested in reading this. Not to prove that Catholics are open minded about reading non Catholics which by the way we are, but because I’m a very angry person. I’ve tried everything. I confess my sins regularly, I participate in the Mass, I consume Christ in the Eucharist. Yet I can’t shake my sin. And it’s an unrighteous anger. It’s not holy at all.

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