Angry With God? My Second Concern

Now for my second concern. It’s pretty straight forward.

I decided to go back and do a little survey of what the Bible says about anger. Maybe you will be helped by this in the way I was.

First, the words anger and angry are not often used in the New Testament. In the Old Testament these words are used 381 times. In the New Testament they appear 22 times. Just about every time they are used they are warnings and cautions about anger. For example:

In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires. (James 1:19-20)

Love is . . . not easily angered. (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger… (Ephesians 4:31; see also Colossians 3:8)

I then looked up several other words, like fury, bitter, and rage. Once again, they are not frequent in the New Testament, and when they appear they are in the form of warning and prohibition. Generally, get rid of them. Resist them. They are bad for you.

What are our general conclusions about this particular cluster of words as they are used in the New Testament? Anger is so potentially problematic. Anger is so easily prone to negative expressions, and when you have such negative expressions, there are always negative consequences.

This is true when you are angry with people.

It is just as true when you are angry with God.

Anger can be legitimate when it is appropriately directed against sin and evil, but Father, Son, and Spirit are never evil and never sinful. I am more than willing to say that anger is never appropriate against God. Anger is appropriate, just not against God.

So, my second concern is about simplistic advice about anger that does not recognize healthy psychological dynamics of anger. It does not take into account how easily anger becomes toxic and ruinous to one’s inner world. Neither does this advice give useful anger management guidance. Anger is not managed nor mitigated through the method of blowing up and venting. Those methodologies actually begin to habituate the venter in patterns and cycles of stuffing, and then vomiting the inner toxins. Instead, they need to be exorcised. At the very least they need a strong spiritual antacid.

Tomorrow, my third concern about your anger with God.

Pastor Brian

Brian Rice