Jump Start # 1990
Matthew 6:9 “Pray, then, in this way; ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.’”
I had an interesting question asked to me the other day. It came from a serious Bible student and a believer who wanted to know, “Is it wrong to be angry with God?”
In most relationships, there are moments in which one is angry with the other. The presence of anger does not mean a person no longer loves, but rather, something someone did, hurt, disappointed and anger was the response and reaction. Parents get angry with their kids, but they love them to death. Husbands and wives can push each other’s buttons to the point of anger, yet they love each other immensely. So, is it wrong to be angry with God?
I remember reading a nationally known author’s take on the book of Job. He reasoned that a person could scream, yell, question and all but curse at God. I never thought that was right. It seems the last chapters of the book, Job not only softens his tone towards God, but he even repents of some of the things he said. His pain and his mouth got ahead of his faith.
Now, why would someone be angry with God? He certainly has been very good to us. He has blessed us, protected us, forgiven us, included us. He is there when we pray to Him. He has been kind to us. Why would we be angry? Often, it’s because some tragedy has happened, or something that we really wanted didn’t happen. We wanted a certain job. We’ve prayed about it and desired it. But the call never came. The position was filled by someone else. We don’t understand. We’d be perfect for the job. We are qualified and we know exactly what ought to be done. We dream about that job. We need that job. It doesn’t happen. Why didn’t God allow it? We become angry. We get angry with God.
Or, someone near to us passes away. We are not ready for that. We’ve prayed for their health, and the prayers weren’t answered. Or, there has been a shooting, and a young child that we know was killed. Why did God allow that? A drunk runs a red light and slams into a car. A young child is killed. The drunk is shaken but fine. Why? Our confusion and curiosity turns quickly into anger. We demand to know why? We ask God why? In our pain, we become angry with God.
Is it wrong to be angry with God?
Jesus was angry with the money changers. He was disappointed with the faithless disciples. If Jesus can be angry with us, can we not be angry back towards Him?
First, be careful with anger. It’s like a fire. In a fireplace, fire is nice. In the grill, fire is good. But look what fire is doing to the hills of Southern California. It’s destroying homes, lives and is out of control. Anger can lead to ugly thoughts and ugly words. We easily say things that we shouldn’t when we are angry. Passion takes over reason and emotion only sees how unfair things seem to be. Jesus was angry, yet remember, He never sinned, not even with His mouth. Being angry with God can lead you to blaspheming His holy name.
Second, how we see God colors how we react to Him. When we are angry with one another, it’s not a happy moment. Parents don’t look back with fondness at the times their kids really made them mad. We remember the giggles, the smiles, the good times. When we are angry with someone, we generally don’t want to be around them at that moment. We need some distance. We need time to cool down. If I am angry with God, I won’t feel like worshipping Him. I won’t want to pray to Him. I want distance. And, that is never good with a relationship with God.
Third, generally a person gets mad because things didn’t go the way that they wanted them to. Your favorite team loses. Your favorite TV show is canceled. A dear friend moves across the country. We see things from our perspective of the world. Our spot in this universe is pretty small. Not only do we only see things from our little spot, we only see things from the standpoint of today. We can’t see out decades from now. What we feel is needed, nice and would make life good, is based upon our little spot in this universe. God sees the whole world. God sees all the way back to the beginning and all the way forward to the coming of Jesus. He sees how A is connected to B and how that impacts C, D and E. We don’t see things that way. So, we are angry because things are not the way we wanted them to be. Our anger is based upon how we feel and how we see things. God is looking out not just for me, but for others. He causes the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. My anger, even though I would never admit it, may be selfish based. It’s what I want. God sees things differently.
Fourth, our verse today, God is in Heaven and His name is hallowed or holy. God is not one of us. We may shout, scream, walk away from one another and even slam doors. That’s not good behavior, but it happens. We are on level ground here. Someone may be my boss, but he’s still a fellow human being. God is not. God is in Heaven. I must remember that when I am talking to Him. I need to tone down my attitude and my words. I need to speak with reverence and devotion.
When people scream, “Why, God?” they fail to realize that God does not owe us an explanation. He doesn’t have to get our permission nor approval before He does things. He is God. He does have the right to ask us, “Why?” Why haven’t you been to church in a while? Why haven’t you gotten over those bad attitudes? Why are you still hanging around those worthless people you call friends? God can ask us why, because He is God and He made us.
We walk by faith and not by sight, which means, that there are times when I do not understand. However, I trust God. He is good. He’s proven that He is good. He keeps His promises. He is always interested in the spiritual, the heart and devotion to Him. This is not Heaven and it will never be Heaven. There is sin, crime, disasters and death here. The innocent suffer. Unfairness prevails. Selfishness is dominate. God is in Heaven. He is good to us. He knows what we need more than we know. A child doesn’t understand why he can’t have a bag of M & M’s before bed. The parent knows. The child cries. The child throws a fit. The child gets angry. The parent stays the course. The parent knows in the big picture what is best. We are that child. We don’t understand. But the difference is, that child is immature and young. We, have faith and the Scriptures. We learn. We know. We trust.
So, answer the question! Is it wrong to get angry with God? I don’t see anything good coming out of that. I don’t see a healthier, closer and stronger relationship built upon my anger with God. I don’t see God being pleased that I am mad at Him. My anger is likely to cause more problems and do more damage than any good that can come from it. Looking at things through the lens of faith, knowing that God knows what is best, I conclude that it is not good to be angry with God.
The Psalms reveal moments when the writer seemed to wonder where God was. He prayed and there was silence. That seemed to upset the writer. The stronger the faith, the greater the trust, the more we conclude that God knows what is best. I may not understand, nor agree, but as Jesus prayed in the garden, not my will, but Thy will be done. Can I live with that? That alone ought to turn any anger. How can I be angry, when I said, “Your will be done.” Or, have I really meant, “You will, if it’s the same as my will.”
Anger towards God is not a good place to be. It will keep you away from Him, when He begs you to draw near to Him. Work things out in your mind through faith.
God is good to us.