Monday, September 14, 2015

BookPastor >> "Unoffendable" (Brant Hansen)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on June 17th, 2015.


TITLE: Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
AUTHOR: Brant Hansen
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2015, (224 pages).

The word "community" has been thrown around quite a lot by many institutions, social help groups, corporate environments, as well as non-profits throughout the world. While trumpeting the merits of working together, the fact is that as people rush from place to place, and to work from dawn to dusk, tempers can easily flare when things do not meet our expectations. From rude behaviours in the workplace to aggressive drivers at the highways, all it often take is an unexpected event that can easily lit our fuses. For those with short fuses, the result is a terrible emotional outburst that can do a lot of damage. There are road rages and boardroom battles. There are even angry exchanges on social media that if picked up by the mainstream media, turn a petty dispute into an all-out war of words. This is what makes this book an extremely practical one. It is the author's contention that just by giving up our right to be angry is a significant change that can enable us to live better. On the area of "righteous anger," Hansen maintains that it is not supported in Scripture. He writes: "We humans are experts at casting ourselves as victims and rewriting narratives that put us in the center of injustices. (More on this in a bit.) And we can repaint our anger or hatred of someone—say, anyone who threatens us—into a righteous-looking work of art." On and on, Hansen advocates peaceful speech, gracious behavior, and a sustained emphasis on self-control, self-restraint, and self-denial. Using examples and teachings from peace rights activists like Dr Martin Luther King Jr, theologians like CS Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastors like Tim Keller, and popular writers like Philip Yancey and Henri Nouwen, Hansen makes his case that there is really nothing for one to lose but everything to gain as far as not being easily offended is concerned.

He deals with the important subject of injustice, while affirming the fact of injustices happening, he advocates that the way ahead is to let our actions be motivated by love. Whether it is tough love or otherwise, it is critical not to let anger have its way, or to let our human emotions take control. Rather, it is to let God work through us by stepping out of inner anger toward fighting injustice not with fighting, but with firm loving. The motives matter a lot. If it is simply a reaction, it may become a wrong trying to correct another wrong, which is wrong in itself. Readers are reminded that behind many angry acts is actually a person whose pride has been hurt.

Being angry is a choice. We can either choose to give in easily to anger to allow it to fly beyond rage, or to exercise self-control by giving up our right to be angry. This is the key message of Christian radio host and author, Brant Hansen. This one change of perspective is the rudder that turns the ship of uncontrolled anger and cultivates an unoffendable spirit. Very readable and tremendously applicable to modern day living, this book speaks about anger from a Christian perspective. In the Bible, we learn "in your anger, do not sin," which means that behind every anger moment is an opportunity for sin to grow. Believers must learn to look beyond the offending event and remember that the person who had hurt us is not the enemy. The enemy is somewhere else trying to make us sin against that brother or a sister, or that person that Jesus had died for. When we gain the bigger perspective of God's love for the world, we will learn to see from God's point of view and to live according to the teachings of Christ. Love your enemies. Pray for them. Love them the way Christ had loved them.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of W Publishing Group, Thomas Nelson, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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