Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is it okay to be angry toward God?

"What are we to say to people who are desperately hurting and feel that God has let them down or is even against them? Is it okay to be angry toward God? Most pop psychology would answer yes. 'Just vent your feelings toward God.' I've even read the statement, 'It's okay to be angry with God. He's a big boy. He can handle it.' In my judgment, that is sheer blasphemy.

Let me make a statement loud and clear. It is never okay to be angry at God. Anger is moral judgment, and in the case of God, it accuses Him of wrongdoing. It accuses God of sinning against us by neglecting us or in some way treating us unfairly. It also is often a response to our thinking that God owes us a better deal in life than we are getting. As a result, we put God in the dock of our own courtroom. I think of a man who, as his mother was dying of cancer, said, 'After all she's done for God, this is the thanks she gets.' Never mind that Jesus suffered untold agony to pay for her sins so she would not spend eternity in hell, this man thought that God also owed her a better life on this earth.

I acknowledge that believers can and do have momentary flashes of anger at God. I have experienced this myself. But we should quickly recognize those occurrences as the sins that they are and repent of them.

How, then, can we deal with our temptation to be angry at God? Must we just 'stuff' our feelings and live in some degree of alienation from God? No, that is not the biblical solution. The answer lies, first of all, in a well-grounded trust in the sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God. Second, we should bring our confusions and perplexity to God in a humble, trusting way. We can pray somewhat in the following fashion:

God, I know that You love me, and I also know that Your ways are often beyond my understanding. I admit that I am confused at this time because I do not see the evidence of Your love toward me. Help me, by the power of Your Spirit, to trust You and not give in to the temptation to be angry at You.

Remember also that our God is a forgiving God. Even our anger toward Him, which I consider a grievous sin, was paid for by Christ in His death on the cross. So if you have anger in your heart toward God, I invite you - no, I urge you - to come to Him in repentance and experience the cleansing power of Christ's blood, shed on the cross for you."

Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate

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