I have had people tell me it is okay to get angry with God-that it is even okay to cuss God out: “He knows what you feel anyways”, and “He’s your friend; be honest with Him; it’s what He wants.” Come as you are, right? Is that right?
Is it okay for me to get angry at God?
Before we dive into this question, it must be said that emotions as they were purely created to be are a beautiful reality. They are God-given, God created, and part of the very nature of God Himself. They have been imputed to human beings because we are specially and uniquely made in God’s likeness (Gen 1:27). God feeels and displayed so many emotions: love (John 13:23), anger (2 Kings 17:18, John 2:13-22), joy (Jer 32:41), compassion (Ps 103:13), and even sorrow (John 11:35). Having emotions in and of themselves clearly isn’t wrong, otherwise God would be held accused of sin, which Psalm 18:30 reminds us is impossible. But just like everything else, emotions have been affected by the entrance of sin into the world (Gen 3), and we must all make sure in our quest for holiness that we do not neglect this very personal, very intimate part of our lives.
Brothers and sisters, I simply cannot look through the pages of Scripture and find any place that justifies anger at our Holy Savior as anything other than sin. Here are two of the reasons why.
- The actions we take and the state of our heart when we feel something are not morally neutral things.Regarding the belief that a feeling cannot be wrong, John Piper says, “ This kind of thinking about feelings is one of the reasons why there is so much shallow Christianity. We think the only things that have moral significance in the world are acts of reflection and violation… small wonder that many people do not earnestly seek to be transformed at the level of feelings but only of ‘choices’.”I truly believe that God originally created every emotion purely, but it is the sin of mankind; the pride and covetousness of our hearts, that has corrupted this beautiful gift of God. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26, “in your anger, do not sin.” This, as well as James 1:19-20, implies that there are ways to sin in our anger, which makes the way we go about being angry a matter of morality.We are accountable for our actions, words and the motivations of our hearts to God at all times (Ps 19:14). We will even have to give an account to our Lord for even every idle word we speak (Matt 12:36). These realities of Scripture cannot and do not change because in our sinfulness we feel a certain way. If we feel angry towards God, we repent and than seek His truth, His wisdom and His comfort as we face whatever trial it is we are struggling through.
- Anger with God assumes that God has done something that justifies our anger at HimIf we believe that we can be justified in anger against God, this naturally implies that God has done something which merits a righteous anger against Him. This would be the only way for it to not be sinful to feel anger towards Him. Piper says, “If [feelings] suggest that God is false and foolish, they are evil.”You see, we forget that we are men and that God is God. He is the one who is holy (1 Peter 1:16), blameless (Ps 18:30), and perfect (Ps 18:30). We are called to become like Him (Phil 2:15, 1 Peter 1:16); He is not called to be like us.Of course we will not always understand nor like what He is doing. But in those times, we are called to trust in our perfect Savior; knowing that His plan for our lives is better than we could ever imagine and that our growth and our good usually will come through means that are uncomfortable and nonsensical to us. If we could understand the ways of God, He simply wouldn’t be as great as He claims to be. To surrender to the reality that we are not Him, nor that we cannot and will not be able to understand His good ways brings such freedom. To ask for anything else would be to ask for a God that is not sovereignly in control of everything on earth and that is not the God of the Bible (Deut 32:39).
We all will go and have gone through seasons of immense pain, sorrow and grief (John 16:33). This is part of life on a fallen earth. In these times, cry out to your Creator. Go to Him acknowledging that you may not understand, that you are in pain, but that you know He is good. Pray that He will equip you to face your trial well, giving you perseverance, for “endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Rom 5:4). The only worse thing than facing a trail is to face it wrongly; to not draw closer toward our Lord because of it and as a result be even further from His face. Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer (Rom 12:12). This is how we are to approach trials. Trusting, hoping and being faithful to our good, good Father.
Reference: Pierced by the Word, by John Piper