August 30, 2012

Is It Wrong For A Believer To Have Anger Towards God?

I don’t know of any relationship exempt from conflict or anger at times. In fact, expressing our anger is healthy if done with respect and control. Repressing or denying our anger is unhealthy and only prolongs the issue. Because our faith in God is expressed in a relationship with Him and our understanding is limited it seems only natural that there would be times of conflict and anger even with God.

God understands better than we do that we are only human. Our hearts and minds and bodies have been affected by sin. The great apostle Paul even acknowledged the limitations of “seeing through a glass darkly” and only “knowing in part” while in this present body. So it’s no surprise that many of the great men and women of God found themselves expressing anger toward God in the Bible. Just read the Psalms and you will find the Psalmists expressing their anger and questions to God. One classic example of this is Psalms 73. Read it and you will see yourself at times frustrated in your own situation as you compare your lot with those who are unbelievers and seem to being doing so much better. It got the best of this Psalmist, Asaph, as he declared, “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” Psalms 73:21-22 (NIV)

The good news is that God is big enough to handle our anger. While we should express it honestly and with respect, He doesn’t respond to the Psalmist in rebuke. He lets Asaph get it out. That seems to be the path of healing. Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. Look at the Psalm again.

Psalms 73:16-17 (NIV) When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Psalms 73:23-28 (NIV) Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

This is one of the great benefits of personal and corporate worship in church to me. When you find your heart embittered and you are angry at God, enter your sanctuary and pour your heart out to God. Read Psalm 73 again and let His Spirit gently guide you to a new perspective on your problem, one that you may have never considered because your anger kept your focus “me” centered. As you do, you may find resolve and be renewed in your faith.

//Theological Thursday: Questions are welcome. Asking them makes our faith personal and real. On Thursdays I will be answering theological questions. Enter yours in the comment box below and I will select one each week to answer on our blog.