James’s Blog: Constructive Anger.

James’s Blog:  Constructive Anger.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw.

Back in the Dark Old Days my response to most difficulties was to get depressed. Whether it was criticism, bad news, making a mistake, injustice or inclement weather, the consequence was typically depression. One of the most significant changes that came about as a result of having counselling was that, on the whole, I stopped getting depressed and started getting angry instead. That may not sound like an improvement to some of you, but for me it was a breakthrough. One of the worst things about depression is that it robs you of motivation. You aren’t happy, but you feel powerless to do anything about it. It’s like being paralysed, and then just having to watch as a snake devours you whole. No-one says, “I’m feeling depressed today. I’d better change the world”.

Anger, on the other hand, at least, has the potential to create significant motivation. In my case, my natural apathy (magnified by the lies of depression) began to burn up in the heat of this new passionate response.

Of course, anger has its own pitfalls.  There’s a reason why Paul tells us to make sure that our anger doesn’t supplant our self-control and result in sin.  For me, however, it was much better to learn to channel my anger than it was to try and live with numbing depression. The goal is to keep working at tempering that zeal into a something resembling a godly unreasonableness.

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