Deprivation and Anger

Henri Nouwen, in his book The Way Of The Heart, has written, “What else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived?” We all have experienced deprivation. We all have experienced the anger response in the face of deprivation. Scripture addresses this phenomenon to some degree when it states in Matthew 5:22, “...I say to you whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment...” The word “angry” finds it origins in the Greek work “orge”. It means there is a desire or reaching forth of the mind to the point of violent passion and by implication means to punish.

How many times have we, including myself, rehearsed how “awful” someone or something is to the point of saying or doing things that are cruel, unkind, or demeaning? Although part of the human condition, this response puts us in a dangerous position spiritually. It not only grieves the Holy Spirit of God but also puts us in a place where we make decisions that separate or further distance us from God and people.

Deprivation is unavoidable. The anger response is normal. Looking horizontal for the answer is what often gets us into trouble. Bringing our response to deprivation to God first, aids us in understanding ourselves as well as experience the drenching of His love He awaits to bestow on us. Isaiah 65:2 “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts.”

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