Daily Riches: Let Your Anger Teach You (Henri Nouwen)

“This afternoon I had a long talk with John Eudes (the abbot of the monastery). He was very open, personal, warm, and made it easy to talk freely. I talked mostly about my anger: my inclination to become angry and irritated with people, ideas, or events.  …I realised that my anger created restlessness, brooding, inner disputes, and made prayer nearly impossible. But the most disturbing anger was the anger at myself for not responding properly, for not knowing how to express my disagreement, for external obedience while remaining rebellious from within, and for letting small and seemingly insignificant events have so much power over my emotional life. In summary: passive aggressive behaviour. We talked about this on many levels and in many ways. Most important for me at this point seem the following … suggestions:

  • Allow your angry feelings to come to your awareness and have a careful look at them. Don’t deny or suppress them, but let them teach you.
  • Do not hesitate to talk about angry feelings even when they are related to very small or seemingly insignificant issues. When you don’t deal with anger on small issues, how will you ever be ready to deal with it in a real crisis?
  • Your anger can have good reasons. Talk to [someone] about it. …If [that person feels] that your anger is unrealistic or disproportionate, then [you and they] can have a closer look at what made you respond so strongly. …
  • On a deeper level you might wonder how much of your anger has to do with ego inflation. Anger often reveals how you feel and think about yourself and how important you have made your own ideas and insight. When God becomes again the center and when you can put yourself with all your weaknesses in front of Him, you might be able to take some distance and allow your anger to ebb away and pray again.” Henri Nouwen
“Mockers can get a whole town agitated,
but the wise will calm anger.”
Proverbs 29:8
.
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Have you experienced how anger can neutralize prayer–and the reverse?
  • Do you find that “small and seemingly insignificant events have so much power over your emotional life?”
  • Can you “take a look” at your angry feelings and “let them teach you?” (e.g., “What does my response say about me?”)
  • What is your anger telling you about “how you feel and think about yourself?” …about your sense of your own importance?

Abba, let me learn the hard lessons my anger wants to teach me.

For More: The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

2 thoughts on “Daily Riches: Let Your Anger Teach You (Henri Nouwen)

  1. The most seemingly powerful thing I have read all day! I needed this for sure yesterday but was too busy being ANGRY! My ego was certainly a factor and I couldn’t pray! What a reality check. Thanks for sharing this. Now I must go and repent!😕

    Liked by 1 person

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