Is It OK to Be Angry at God? Denny Burk Says 'Never'

"The Psalms, he said, model how human beings ought to interact with God and how to access hope in times of suffering." CPost

1703 reads

There are 4 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

If we allow ourselves to be angry toward Him, we have not understood the first thing about who He is.

TOvermiller's picture

I agree wholeheartedly with you (and him):

Aaron Blumer wrote:

If we allow ourselves to be angry toward Him, we have not understood the first thing about who He is.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Kevin Miller's picture

I looked at the definition of anger on Wikipedia. It says "Anger or wrath is an intense emotional response. It is an emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat."

To me, anger is like a temptation to think wrongly of God's purposes towards me. Once I think things through, then I can realize my perceptions are faulty, If I continue on into a 'settled disapproval of God," then that would certainly be wrong, but it can take a Christian many years of sanctification to over come their intense emotional responses to things. We don't automatically lose temptation once we get saved or even once we start to learn about God's character.

TylerR's picture

Editor

This is a very difficult topic. I think it really comes down to the way confusion, doubt and despair are addressed to God, which reflect where your heart is. The imprecatory psalms are in the Bible, and there are numerous other examples of honest questioning of God from the prophets, and Job. The crux is this:

  • Do the imprecatory psalms (etc.) model (1) how to come to God for understanding and relief during very difficult, hurtful times, or (2) legitimatize real anger towards God?

I think this article is trying to condense a very difficult topic into a very short amount of space, but I essentially agree with Burk. the article finished with this quote from him:

"And that is why there is so much at stake in this question and why we need to get this right. If we love each other, we need to be able to say to one another that it is never right to be angry at God, even though it is always right to tell Him about it when we are."

Last year, I wrote a short article about whether it is ever appropriate to pray for God to destroy our enemies, and I used a text from Jeremiah. In that piece, I wrote:

Last, I will simply say there is a time and place to be brutally honest with our Heavenly Father and express what we're feeling. This honesty must always be expressed with a humble and pleading spirit; never in a spiteful and angry manner. We get confused. We get upset. We get sad. We often don't understand. Are we supposed to put on a mask of stoicism and fraudulent piety and come boldly to the throne of grace, pretending we understand what the Lord is doing in our lives? Do we actually believe God doesn't know how torn up we are inside?

There is a place for honesty with God, even if we know what we pray or ask isn't always the "right" thing to say. Like confused, simple and often spoiled children, sometimes we must come before God and ask "why?" You cannot read any of the imprecatory prayers or psalms without confronting this reality. To be more blunt, you cannot be a human being and not understand that.

I think this pretty much sums up what Burk was saying in his quoted comment (above). I think we can all agree on that.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?