Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All Of Life Better, by Brant Hansen
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
It is fortunate that this book is written in such a warm and conversational, and genuinely self-effacing style. Since this book talks about a very contentious subject, taking a strong stance that Christians are not to indulge in anger or bitterness, especially what is considered “righteous anger,” it is fortunate that the author admits his own struggle with the biblical stance on anger, and pokes enough fun at himself in his stories to forestall the reader from getting any ideas that the author is self-righteous, or unconcerned with virtue in general. It is a wise decision to take, for it keeps the mood light on what could be a dangerously controversial book otherwise. This book manages to make strong points, and uncompromising points, with a great deal of credibility because the author pulls insights from scripture, science, and a lot of personal stories where the names have been omitted to protect the innocent and the guilty.
In terms of its structure the book has a lot of short chapters with comical titles that discuss Danish movies about pleasure, our stupidity as humans for being so easily terrified by our fears, or has some sort of ironic or self-mocking name that points to the subject material, including one chapter that talks about people wanting to punch him when he brags about his spirituality. The consistent mood of comedy helps keep the book light, which is fortunate because some of the stories are heartbreaking, including stories about death on a massive and deeply personal scale. The author manages to connect the issue of anger with worry and fear and trust and love, and with grace, and by combining so many essential issues into one examination, the point is clearly made that simply releasing anger and bitterness and resentment can make a major impact on many areas of life, from physical and relational health to salvation and one’s ability to get along with people and be an effective witness to God’s ways. It is a serious point, but one that goes down easily.
I figure at this point it is necessary to remind the reader of this review that I am by no means an expert at this. I get upset in traffic, I tend to hold grudges by nature, I get offended when people snub me or act rudely in public, even for silly things like not being hugged. I get terrified when attractive ladies circle me or hover near me but not wanting to talk to me. I’m not exactly a model of being unoffendable by any means. Nor am I a model of trusting God or other people very well. Nevertheless, like the author I consider it an important enough matter to struggle at it, no matter that I’m pretty inept at it at present. May it get easier with time to treat others graciously and not to hold any anger or resentment or feel frustration with human beings simply being human. God is certainly gracious enough with us all, after all.