When Is it Okay to be Angry with God?
Carrie Dedrick What topic related to Christianity, faith, and the Bible is trending online and in social media today?
- 2016 Apr 22
Many of us have heard a friend or loved one admit, “I’m angry at God.” Perhaps we’ve said it ourselves. When God’s ways don’t match our plans, it is easy to cry out to God in our anguish, saying, “Why is this happening to me?”
In the Ligonier Ministries blog “Is it Ever Legitimate to Complain to God or to Express Anger to God?” author and theologian R.C. Sproul says that we see several examples of this in the Bible. Moses complains to God that He had not freed the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 5:22-23). Job curses the day he was born (Job 3:23). The prophet Habakkuk criticizes God for doing nothing to stop the wickedness in the world (Habakkuk 1:1-2).
But Sproul says that justifying our anger at God by saying, “Moses did it, too,” misses an important point: God’s response to anger.
Moses was told the he should be the one to lead the slaves from Egypt (Exodus 6:10-13). And God rebuked Job and Habakkuk for their anger and complaints.
Sproul writes, “By considering the scope of the Bible’s teaching on this subject, we may conclude that it is acceptable to bring all our cares to God, including matters that may move us to frustration or anger. However, we must not come to God in a spirit of complaint or anger against Him, for it is never proper to accuse God of wrongdoing.”
God is the creator of emotion, including anger. Anger itself is not a sin. But, as Dr. Roger Barrier writes, the powerful emotion can lead to sin if not handled appropriately.
“Anger is a necessary, built-in emotion. (Proverbs 27:4; Proverbs 14:17; Ephesians 4:26-27). The emotion of anger is not sin; but, anger has the potential to lead into sin. Anger does not become sin until we translate it into aggressive and hostile actions—or activities destructive to ourselves,” Barrier writes.
“However, anger has its limits. Out of control anger can be a dastardly thing. One of my favorite proverbs is Proverbs 29:11 ‘A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.’”
So what is one to do when anger clouds our vision? After all, life is unpredictable. We might be struggling with grief, unemployment, or health issues. We might suffer from depression or not have enough money to make ends meet. What then?
Crosswalk.com devotional writer Micca Campbell encourages those struggling with anger to confess their pain to God, instead of lashing out.
“It's important to express our upset emotions to the Lord. But we have to view our circumstances through the lens of God's grace: everything He does is without fault and is always right. Look at Psalm 30:2, 'LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.' Rather than ignoring our pain or not sharing our anger with God (which is silly because He already knows), we should confess our anger and seek His healing.”
Carrie Dedrick is the Family editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: April 22, 2016