The Sixth Part of a Nine Part Series on Depression Which Began on February 10, 2016

There are five main causes of depression. Each by itself may lead to depression, but when an individual encounters more than one of these five, depression is far more likely. The First thing that can cause depression is Loss, The Second factor that can lead to depression is Anger.

People Get Depressed When They Are Constantly Angry

There are two types of anger that people display toward others: people with aggressive anger often get what they want, but leave behind an unfortunate trail of hurting people. People with passive anger, on the other hand, tend to be their own worst enemies, causing themselves considerable pain by failing to speak up about the situations or actions which anger them. In the end they also leave behind a trail of confused hurting people. Both forms of anger damage relationships and leave the angry person alone and discouraged. When people hold onto it for a long period of time it leads to discouragement and a sense of hopelessness. And if the individual can not, or will not let it go, it manifests itself as depression.

People who are aggressive in their anger must learn to control it. The Bible warns against even associating with a man given to anger.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger;

nor go with a wrathful man,

lest you learn his ways,

And entangle yourself in a snare (Proverbs 22:24-25).

Buzzell writes: The warning here is against being a friend or even associating with a hot-tempered man (lit., “an owner or possessor of anger”; cf. 19:19) or one easily angered (lit., “a man of wrath”) because such an association leads a person to take on wrathful ways, which are foolish (14:17, 29), divisive (15:18), and sinful (29:22), and become ensnared (cf. 29:6), caught up in a situation which is hard to get out of.

(Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs (p. 955). In J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck (Ed.),The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament p. 955). Wheaton: Victor Books).

Clearly this is not a prescription for happiness! Aggressive anger leads to personal problems. And personal problems, the longer they continue, can leave a person trapped in depression.

People who are passively aggressive in their anger, on the other hand, can experience God’s peace by following a simple plan for speaking clearly and honestly. They need to ask themselves three questions as they plan a conversation with someone whose words and actions have left them feeling hurt or angry:

  1. What did the person do or say that made you angry?
  2. What sort of changes are you hoping to see?
  3. What might be the result if the situation does not change?

Taken together, it looks something like this: 1) When you keep reminding me of what I did five years ago in front of others it makes me angry. 2) I want you to be more respectful of me in public. 3) If you won’t respect my feelings and the fact that God has forgiven me in Christ, our friendship will not be able to remain as close as we would both like it to be.

Dr James P Porowski     Raleigh NC     February 18, 2016