Can We Be Angry At God?
Yesterday in my sermon on anger from Proverbs I dealt with three myths about anger. One of the myths I tried to disarm was: anger at God is okay. I think early in my Christian walk I believed this myth. When we are angry we always feel justified for being so and anger at God is no different. When He fails to answer our prayers or when He takes us through a difficult season of life, we can be prone to anger and frustration at Him. But is this justified? Should we be angry at God? Don’t the Psalms express deep disappointment and frustration toward Him? I believe that anger at God is never justified and should be guarded against at all costs. Here are three reasons why.
Anger At God Goes Against Scripture
The biblical position on anger is that we should be slow to anger (James 1:19-20, Ephesians 4:26, Proverbs 14:29), at the right things. We should be angry at sin, false teaching, injustice, etc. We should express this anger in appropriate and patient ways. But Scripture never commands us or exhorts us to be angry at God. Yes there are Psalms that complain and lament God’s apparent absence and lack of concern, but those Psalms are laced with hope, trust, and a resolve to wait on God. Psalm 88 is perhaps the darkest Psalm in Scripture. But what is clear in the Psalm is that he is suffering and hurting toward God, not away from Him. He says,
“But I, O Lord, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.”
Anger shuns God. Anger puts a wall up between the believer and God. This Psalm, as dark and as honest as it is, moves toward God in hope and faith, not anger. God is his only hope and source of refuge and salvation. Scripture is clear that God is good and He does good (Psalm 119:68).
Anger At God Implies That God Sinned
When we are angry at God for not coming through for us, we are implying that God sinned against us. We know what is best and God needs to see things from our point of view. Anger at God attempts to de-god God and puts us in His place as the ultimate judge. We are saying that we know what is best, what is right, and God doesn’t. Should we express our pain and hurt and anger to God? Yes! But we should never do so in a way that implies that God should repent or that we have need to forgive Him. We can express anger and frustration with God without being angry at God. John Piper says, “It is wrong – always wrong – to disapprove of God for what he does and permits. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18:25). It is arrogant for finite, sinful creatures to disapprove of God for what he does and permits. We may weep over the pain. We may be angry at sin and Satan. But God does only what is right. “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments” (Revelation 16:7).
Anger At God Only Sees Half Of The Story
Anger is usually shortsighted. Anger rarely takes the longview of things. If we are angry at God, it is because we think our current situation is the final chapter in our story. But God is always working for the good 0f those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).We don’t always know what God is up to. We can’t see the whole picture, but faith and trust wait in hope for God. Anger rushes to judge God and hold him in contempt.
On the one hand we should definitely confess our frustration and pain to God. We should not hold in our feelings and emotions before Him. On the other hand, we should not be angry with God and accuse Him of moral evil and wickedness. We should be careful that we do not express disapproval in what He has done. We must learn to melt our will into His and trust that He is good and that He does good.