Sunday, May 18, 2008

IS IT OK TO BE ANGRY WITH GOD?

"2Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few." - Eccl. 5:2
When we speak to God we can say whatever is on our mind, right? And if someone is angry with Him, he should feel free to express it, right? Or does God, knowing and appreciating the difference between blurting out wrong thoughts and resisting the temptations to do so, expect discretion and reverence instead? A person might be tempted, while praying, to ask God for something he knows he shouldn't. God recognizes such temptations but even here temptation must be dealt with properly. Should a person feel justified to give in to the temptation, feeling free to say to God whatever he wants to? These are important questions. What do you think?
"They will say of Me, 'Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.' Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame." (Isaiah 45:24).
What do you think? Is it acceptable to approach God in prayer and tell Him just how angry you are at Him? Is that really appropriate?

I really like the "Boundaries" books by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. I have read 'Boundaries', 'Boundaries and Kids', and 'Boundaries in Marriage' and the overall message is good. I teach boundaries at our local county jail.

As much as I like their books, there are a couple of doctrinal issues on which I disagree with them. One has to do with 'anger'. They write, "in our deeper honesty and ownership of our true person, there is room for expressing anger at God. Many people who are cut off from God shut down emotionally because they feel it is not safe to tell him how angry they are at him. Until they feel the anger, they cannot feel the loving feelings underneath the anger."1 It's hard to make sense of this. Is there really "room for expressing anger" at God? The scripture above indicates it is not. Who says it's acceptable to express anger to God? It seems that the Drs. are wrong and it is they who are crossing a boundary to suggest it. After all, why do we need to express our anger at God if God has done nothing wrong? Even if we don't understand the ways of God, it is not justifiable to be angry at Him. And if a person is wishing to be healed in any way, to sin in our words is going the wrong way. How is it beneficial to start off by telling God how angry we are at Him? If, as the Drs. say, people need to feel it is safe to express anger at God, should they also feel safe to express hatred, bitterness, disdain or contempt for God? Nonsense. If a person doesn't feel it is safe to tell God how angry they are at Him, maybe it's for good reason because He is God: and He is in heaven and we are on earth! Maybe they intuitively know it is wrong to be angry with God Almighty. And the last part where the Drs. speak of needing to feel the anger before they can feel "the loving feelings underneath" sounds like new age psycho babble. Reading that last part, it's almost as if the Drs. walked away from the computer for a minute leaving just enough time for a passing prankster to add in some nonsense.

The Drs. talk about Job as if his bewilderment and desire to make his case before God was an expression of anger. But even the Job 13:3 passage they reference does not say Job was angry with God. There is clearly a difference here. David was angry with God when God killed Uzzah for touching the Ark of Covenant. But it doesn't say that the anger was acceptable to God. And Cain was angry when God had no regard for his sacrifice. But God did not justify Cain's anger. As a matter of fact, God said, "6Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." (Gen. 4:6,7). The question is therefore not whether men have been angry with God, but whether there is "room" for it? And is it necessary to show it to God in order to uncover other feelings, as the Drs. say? Isaiah 45:24 says, "And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame." And Isaiah writes in verse 9, "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?" (Isaiah 45:9). It seems that Scripture shows it is misguided and foolish to be angry with God. And the Drs. who wrote the Boundaries book are I think in error on this point.

Solomon warned about approaching God in prayer and saying things to Him in haste which I think would apply to blurting childish, irreverent thoughts to God. Solomon wrote,
"1Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 2Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:1,2)
Making rash vows and promises does not please God. These show a degree of irreverence for God. And if we approach His throne telling Him we are angry at Him for doing us wrong, it only reveals a degree of irreverence that cannot be justified.

It is understandable that someone would express bewilderment or desperation to God because man does not always understand the ways of God. But the idea that anger at God is justified implies that God sometimes acts in a wrong way. And that just simply isn't true. I would never suggest to someone that it's OK to be angry with God.
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1Boundaries. p.237,238

4 comments:

  1. I like the clear, simple logic of this post. As soon as I read the 'new age psycho babble' quote and in the miliseconds before I read your next words I was saying within my head, "Huh?" It really doesn't make any sense that one wouldn't be able to love or recognize being loved until they expressed an unjustified anger. I guess this subject itself could occupy a chapter.

    But, what I like also about this post and the verses from which it is drawn is the application to other activities, such as, worship. When I consider being rash and offering the unthinking sacrifice of fools coupled with the examples of anger you cited, it seems that David and Cain were particularly upset that God did not regard their activities as acceptable worship. This puts a finger on the nagging voice in my head which I couldn't identify whenever I would hear or read about a certain act of worship being acceptable just because the worshippers attitude is good, happy, or meaning to please God. It is important to know why we are performing an act of worship and to be fully convinced that it is acceptable to God; I don't think there will be any acceptable excuses, especially for teachers and leaders in worship.

    Your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks.
    This comes up from time to time and it leaves me flummoxed. I don't think I have ever been angry with God and if I ever were I think it would be a weak moment of sin.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Yeh, and my general amiable personality doesn't doesn't come out until I enjoy a raging tantrum. It's like, you got to be bad to be good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10:28 PM

    1000 yards,
    Good point.

    ReplyDelete

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