A hundred or more years ago, one would scarce find a pastor or religious authority who would tell someone it is okay to be angry with God. General society held that if someone railed against God they were asking for trouble from a God who was very willing to discipline people.
But today the sentiment is much different.
Ask the average person on the street, “Is it okay to be angry with God?” and they will most likely respond in the affirmative.
Leading sociologists have coined a phrase to describe America’s popular grassroots religion. It’s referred to as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). This new religion is most obvious among teens and twenty-somethings. But it’s also evident in older generations as well. And what’s surprising (and alarming) is that it doesn’t matter what faith tradition people come from. Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims all have the basic underlying assumptions about faith and “God”.
You can do some research on MTD if you are interested. But to summarize, the majestic God of the Bible, who created the universe and upholds all things by the word of His power; Who has powerfully and mercifully been unfolding Himself to His creation over thousands of years; and who most wonderfully and finally has made Himself known through His Son, Jesus Christ; has now been emasculated and reduced to something much less.
To quote the sociologists who coined the MTD designation, today God is:
“something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he’s always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.”Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005)
So what’s all this got to do with the title (or question) at the top of this post? Well, pretty much everything! Listen to the great prophet from the Bible, Isaiah. He is speaking of the great day of judgment, when every human will be made to bow before the Living God:
They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’ ” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. (Isaiah 45:24)
It is shameful to be angry with God. It is self-righteous to be angry with God. Those who are angry with God are trapped in rebellion and deception. And the Bible says that one day everyone who is angry with God will bow before Him and be ashamed.
Job learned this lesson. A lot of bad stuff happened in his life that he couldn’t understand – all kinds of tragedy and affliction. He didn’t shake his fist at God and he didn’t accuse God of evil. But he did deeply question God and even felt that what was happening in his life was unfair.
And the truth was that a lot of unfair stuff was happening. But Job was being delivered from the lie that if you just do everything right in your life that only good stuff will happen. Indeed, sometimes bad stuff happens to good people, and good stuff happens for bad people! At least in the short run.
But Job’s frustration all came to a screeching halt in a moment. What changed him? He encountered the living God. And when he faced God, suddenly he realized how foolish he was to even question God on any point. The Bible says that Job, “shut his mouth”. He confessed that he had spoken of things he had no idea about.
So is it ever okay to be angry with God? No, never.
But if you are angry with Him (and many people have been from time to time), don’t compound the sin of self-righteous, unrighteous anger, with the sin of hypocrisy! In other words, if you’re angry with God, go ahead and admit it. Tell Him. But do it as a humble, penitent confession, and not a rebellious rant!
Ask Him to help you release all the anger and pain to Him and to learn to trust Him. Ask Him to help you find in Him all your righteousness and strength, and to escape the corruptions of this world that make men slaves to sin and enemies of the Holy God.