While discussing The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey with some Christian buddies, one man said, "I have some friends who say we shouldn't read stuff by Mormons, or Muslims, or people of other faiths. What do you think?" I told him he should find some new friends.
Without question, we should use discretion regarding the images and ideas we allow into our mind, but God often reveals his wisdom in unexpected places. As someone once said: "Some books are like catfish: good eatin' but you have to spit out the bones." Such is the case with the writings of Dr. Albert Ellis.
Albert Ellis (1913-2007) was a psychologist, a devout atheist, and until late in life, openly hostile toward all things religious. His views on human sexuality were antithetical to the teachings of Scripture. For those reasons (and because he's dead) he would not be on the short list of speakers at most pastors retreats, but he does offer some wisdom and sanity for weary Christian leaders.
Ellis is most widely known for his Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, so named because it is directed at irrationality. Ellis theorized that much of our inner turmoil is caused by our tendency to embrace irrational beliefs, which leads to stress, low self-worth, frustration, conflict, anger, avoidance, procrastination, diminished productivity, and difficulty in relating to others.
He identified three irrational core beliefs that cause the most trouble:
#1: "I absolutely MUST, at all times, perform outstandingly well and win the approval of significant others. If I fail in these important—and sacred—respects, that is awful and I am a bad, incompetent, unworthy person, who will probably always fail and deserves to suffer."
#2: "Other people with ...