This is a book review series of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.
Chapter One – Chapter Two – Chapter Three – Chapter Four – Chapter Five – Chapter Six – Chapter Seven – Chapter Eight – Chapter Nine – Chapter Ten – Chapter Eleven – Chapter Twelve – Chapter Thirteen – Chapter Fourteen – Chapter Fifteen – Chapter Sixteen – Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen is titled, “The Wife’s Anger: Overcoming Impatience.” Otherwise titled, “Impatience and Anger: Kathi’s Feelings About this Book.”
I took a guess at what would be covered in this chapter and I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’ve got Martha Peace pretty much nailed down. As with other chapters, there are lists for how to biblically correct your sinful anger. To spare you, I’ll summarize the chapter: Anger is sinful. Repent of your sinful ways. Be gentle with your husband, not angry.
Throughout this chapter Peace talks about how “many women” use anger as a way to manipulate their husbands to get what they want. Anger is also described as the catalyst of ruined marriages. I agree that anger used in a manipulative or abusive way is not healthy. The problem with Peace’s teaching is that it’s an all-or-nothing attitude, and there are no exceptions:
Righteous anger is a rare occurrence. It is only right that other’s heinous crimes make us angry. Certainly, it is only right that murdering unborn babies makes us angry. However, most of the time our anger is not righteous, it is sinful. Even biblically justifiable anger is often sinful coming from us. You can know your anger is righteous if in spite of provocation, you continue to think “true… honorable… right… pure… lovely… good… repute… excellent… and worthy of praise (to God)” thoughts (Philippians 4:8). In addition, you must also “not take into account a wrong suffered” and “not be provoked” (I Corinthians 13:5). Otherwise, your anger is not honoring to God. It is sinful.
I’m not quite sure how Martha Peace became the all-knowing expert on determining if someone’s anger is righteous or not, but she makes it clear that anger is not acceptable. On this I have to disagree. There are times where anger is appropriate. Anger on its own is not a bad emotion; it’s simply a part of the human experience. Anger becomes a problem when harm is inflicted.
Since Peace’s teachings are based upon biblical counseling, I thought it would be interesting to read what Heath Lambert, Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, says about evaluating our anger:
Well I think that first of all we should be very suspicious of ourselves. So, when we are asking the question, ‘how do I know if my anger is sinful or righteous?’ we ought to be suspicious of ourselves. It is very easy for people to assume the best about our emotions and our experience. The Bible does not give us any warrant for that assumption; the Bible teaches us that our hearts are desperately wicked and beyond cure. So we ought to wonder when we have an experience whether it is right, we should not jump to the conclusion that it is. So, it could be that our experience of anger is righteous, but it is very likely that it is not righteous.
Is there any wonder that Peace states that righteous anger is a “rare occurrence?” The entire thought in the biblical counseling movement is that people are not capable of assessing their own feelings and that we cannot trust ourselves. It’s the perpetuating lie that people are never good enough in God’s eyes that is bothering. Honestly, it makes me angry. And I think God is okay with me feeling this way.