We all get angry. Anger is a human emotion and it’s one that we all deal with—some more effectively than others.
Even Jesus, in His humanity, felt and displayed anger. But Jesus’ anger was different. When Jesus got angry, He did not sin. His anger was always righteous anger, an anger about that which angers the Father—sin. This kind of anger is better described as “righteous indignation.”
To answer this question, let’s look at three passages about anger in the Bible:
1) In the Old Testament we read:
Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalm 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness.
Here God is angry with the wicked and He hates wickedness. Both of these indicate anger toward sin. That’s the kind of anger God has and that’s the only kind of righteous anger.
2) In Mark 3 we read of Jesus entering the synagogue on the Sabbath and seeing a man with a withered hand, He says:
Mark 3:4-5 … Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Jesus’ anger was because He was “grieved for the hardness of their hearts.” His question in verse 4 should have prompted them to understand that healing a man is doing something good. And, to refuse to do good is to do evil. When they “held their peace,” they demonstrated that their hearts were hard, and that grieved Jesus to the point of anger. Again this anger is righteous indignation against the sin of not loving one’s neighbor, and in this anger, Jesus did not sin.
3) We are commanded that when we experience a situation that produces in us anger, we are not to sin. Paul wrote:
Ephesians 4:26 …be ye angry, and sin not…
Don’t misunderstand this verse. Paul isn’t commanding us to be angry. Rather, Paul knows that we will get angry and he’s commanding that, when the emotion of anger arises, we are not to sin.
The actual emotion of anger is not sinful. Sin in our world should provoke anger, just as it angers God. But in the emotion of anger, whatever the cause, we must be diligent and determined not to sin. That’s what Paul was speaking of when he said, “be angry and sin not.”
Let’s now address the actual question:
“Is it okay to be angry WITH God?”
If we are angry along WITH God about sin in our world, and we do not sin in that anger…then, yes it is okay. But that is not usually what this question is asking. The question really asks about being angry with God because of something happening to us, something we are not getting, things are not as we would like them to be, etc. In that case, the answer is, no. Being angry with God in that way expresses a disapproval of His Person, His will, and/or His works. It also demonstrates a lack of faith and trust in Him. Any such anger with God is a sin.
As God’s children, we are to know and trust that He is working in all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). We know that He is a loving and kind Father. Therefore, even when we don’t understand our circumstances, or don’t like what is happening, we know that He loves us and that He is perfect, right and just in all He brings about or allows to happen. The Scriptures support this:
Genesis 18:25 asks, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Revelation 16:7 “…Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”
While it is not okay to be angry with God or with His works, it is okay to bring problems, concerns and situations—absolutely everything that angers us—TO God. In fact, God wants us to come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet.
We should be quick to bring our feelings of anger to the Lord in prayer — asking with a humble and trusting heart for His direction, peace, and comfort to work through our anger.
God is never deserving of our anger being focused toward Him, but He is always desirous of our dependence on Him in all things.
Seeking God in all things reminds us that He is sovereign, that He is good, and that He is working.
There’s an old saying that sums this up well… when you can’t trace His hand, you can still trust His heart
Trusting God’s heart helps us to re-focus on Jesus and find our rest in Him. That will calm an angry mind and restore peace to a troubled soul. Trust God with everything. And when feelings of anger arise, turn to Him. Stretch out your hands and agree with the psalmist, who said: ”Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” (Psalm 63:4)
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