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Does God Get Upset If We Are Angry?

John is a writer based in Portsmouth in the United Kingdom who enjoys writing on a wide range of personal and professional interests.

Anger is a normal emotion. It is one of the emotions we bear as being created the image of our Creator. As the Bible tells us, indeed even God himself gets angry! Anger comes about because we are hurt or let down (either deliberately or not)

God gets angry with us - He is angry with us because we have failed to treat him as God in our lives (that by the way is what sin is about).

The problem with our anger in general is that we react to it in ways that are not helpful or way out of proportion to the hurt felt. In this way anger can disrupt and destroy relationships that are important to us. In the heat of the moment we want to be proved right or may even want to inflict hurt. We will say and do things that we regret later on.

Christ Driving the Money changers from the Temple by Theodoor Rombouts

Christ Driving the Money changers from the Temple by Theodoor Rombouts

A quick story

This is an entirely fictitious story. A ship was moving at night. There was thick fog all around and visibility was very poor. The ship lost its course and moved eastwards. The captain and the crew were vigilant and very alert as they were off course. Suddenly they saw a light at a distance. They watched it carefully and were alarmed as it was proceeding directly towards them. The captain was sure that it was another ship that had lost its course in the heavy fog. They sent a stern message to the other ship that was apparently approaching them rapidly, “Divert your course twenty five degrees to the North immediately or you will hit us.” The reply was quick and sharp. “We cannot change our course. You must turn through twenty five degrees to the South immediately.” The Captain was furious. He shouted angrily, “This is the captain warning you. Change your course to the North. Avoid a collision”. The reply was frantic, “There is no way Captain. This is a light house. Turn to the South and save yourselves”. The Captain realised the danger and the gravity of the situation. He put away his ego and promptly turned the ship away from the shore in time and averted a major accident by his timely action. We behave like the captain when we insist that others should change their course to suit our convenience. The situation may become explosive due to the stubbornness of the persons involved. Let us remember that ‘ANGER is only one letter short of ‘DANGER’

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

So the issue with anger is not so much that you get angry but why and what to do about it. Understanding why will help help you work out how to deal with it.

God always uses his anger to bring about his good purposes. Unlike us, he does not let this anger overcome him so that he loses control. Rather he works patiently through history to bring about his plans. What drives him is not his anger but a far more potent and powerful emotion - love.

importance of forgiveness - anger, forgiveness and reconciliation

Forgiveness is often a process. Even if we may still feel anger towards the one who has hurt us, and the effects of the damage - (emotional pain and other problems), are still with us, we can still be in an attitude of forgiveness to that person. We are effectively controlling our anger and inviting God to deal with it. Rather than the anger turning bad, and causing hate, we acknowledge it, state forgiveness and refuse through sheer will to engage in thoughts of bitterness, revenge or hate. A feeling of complete forgiveness may take a significant amount of time and effort to reach but it is worth it in the end.

Forgiveness is not just an declaration or a feeling, it is also an action. Forgiveness does not mean that we sweep the hurt under the carpet as if it never happened. Forgiveness and love for the other may mean we need to deal with the hurt and the circumstances that brought it about. But it is now done in the light of bringing about reconciliation and doing good for the other (e.g. helping them to recognise and change a wrong behaviour). After all God did not simply sweep our sin under the carpet and forget it, he acted by sending his Son to take the punishment we deserve.

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni

Now I have said before that none of this is easy as I am sure you are aware. So God is there to help. He knows what it is like to be human (after all Jesus lived as a human) and he is willing to help. So turn to him and ask for help. When you are angry try to simply direct a thought at him - “Help me not lose control but act in love and forgive.” It would be good to find other christian people who you trust that you can confide in and talk about these things with. They can pray for you and with you.

But most importantly you need to ask yourself have you experienced the love and forgiveness of God yourself? I have no idea if you are a Christian or if you know of God’s love for you and his overwhelming gift of forgiveness. A christian’s love for others stems from God’s love for us and a christian’s ability to forgive others stems from the fact that we have already been forgiven by God himself.

Christ on the Cross, by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1870)

Christ on the Cross, by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1870)

Being angry at God is something that many people, both believers and unbelievers, have wrestled with throughout time. When something tragic happens in our lives, we ask God the question, “Why?” because it is our natural response. What we are really asking Him, though, is not so much “Why, God?” as “Why me, God?” This response indicates two flaws in our thinking. First, as believers we operate under the impression that life should be easy, and that God should prevent tragedy from happening to us. When He does not, we get angry with Him.

our frail human flesh is grappling with our own frustration and our lack of control over events. When good things happen, we all too often attribute it to our own achievements and success. When bad things happen, however, we are quick to blame God, and we get angry with Him for not preventing it

Tragedies bring home the awful truth that we are not in charge. All of us think at one time or another that we can control the outcomes of situations, but in reality it is God who is in charge of all of His creation. Everything that happens is either caused by or allowed by God. Not a sparrow falls to the ground nor a hair from our head without God knowing about it (Matthew 10:29-31)

He has a perfect plan and purpose for us which cannot be thwarted (Isaiah 14:24, 46:9-10)—we begin to see our problems in a different light.

So, to answer the question directly, yes, it is wrong to be angry at God. Anger at God is a result of an inability or unwillingness to trust God even when we do not understand what He is doing. Anger at God is essentially telling God that He has done something wrong, which He never does. Does God understand when we are angry, frustrated, or disappointed with Him? Yes, He knows our hearts and He knows how difficult and painful life in this world can be. Does that make it right to be angry with God? Absolutely not. Instead of being angry with God, we should pour out our hearts to God in prayer and then trust that He is in control and that His plan is perfect.