Meanderings of a Minister

Andy Stanley Writes a Book That Reads the Reader
October 20, 2011, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Book Review

When Was the Last Time You Read a Book that Read You?

 Andy Stanley, in his re-release, Enemies of the Heart, has written a book that does just that!  The subtitle of the book:  Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You, tells you what is in the book, but it also might just tell you what is in you and what the book is going to do to you.

This book is for anyone who has ever struggled with guilt, anger, greed or jealousy.  These might not make your list of top, happy topics, but for most of us that are honest with ourselves and God, it is a book that has been long needed.  Andy Stanley suggests that, while things might tempt us to become angry, greedy, jealous or feel the stinging power of shame or guilt, the power they wield actually comes from within us.  They issue forth from the heart.  This is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Stanley explains that all four of these controlling emotions issue forth from seeing everyone, including God, as owing you something.  Stanley defines guilt as feeling as though you owe someone something that you have not repaid and you are spending your time, energy and heart attempting to make it up to them.  Anger is just the opposite.  Anger is seeing someone else as owing you something they have not paid you.  Since they owe you, you have a right to remain angry with them until they do.  Interestingly, Stanley defines greed as you feeling as though you owe yourself something.  You have to get more and more to somehow pay yourself what you feel you are entitled to.  Lastly, and the most personally convicting for me, is jealousy, which amounts to “God owes me.”  Since God owes me, then I must be suspicious or even vicious with those that receive what I feel God owes me.

In addition to telling us what problems there are, Andy Stanley tells us how to recognize if we have a problem with this problem.  He describes physical, emotional and psychological indicators that we might have a level of problem that needs to be addressed.  Since most people do not realize they have a problem in some of these areas, this is especially helpful as it provides a mirror attached to a diagnostic to help us see past our blinders.

Having diagnosed the problem, Stanley does not leave the reader there to wallow in their self-revelation and self-condemnation.  Instead, and unlike other books, Stanley gives you practical tools to overcome these emotions from the scripture.  I guess I might have highlighted or bolded that last phrase:  from the scripture.  Far from psycho-babble, Stanley actually prescribes help from the Word of God.

If you are tired of struggling, and losing, against seemingly uncontrollable anger, crippling guilt, relationship-killing jealousy or insatiable greed, then you must read this book, but let me warn you.  It will break you down, build you up and set you free…IF YOU HEED IT.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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1 Comment so far
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Just a couple of corrections (maybe): “Stanely defines greed as feeling as though you owe someone something that you have not repaid”…do you mean “guilt” instead of “greed”?

Then the wording, ” You have to get more and more to…”, more and more what.

I may be wrong. I don’t write that well and when I re-read my own stuff, I’m saying, “What?”

Comment by Katherine

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