Are You Mad At God?
I've got to believe at some point in your life, you've raised your fist and shouted out in anger at God. Most of us have done it.
Maybe your parent died, or you had a friend get seriously sick, or even killed. Maybe you have cancer, or some kind of handicap. These and other serious issues enter our lives, making it easy to target God for our pain.
Someone described anger this way: Anger is a human emotional response to situations that are either out of our control or out of our ability to understand, or both.
What does Jesus say about anger?
Jesus talks about anger several times in the New Testament of the Bible. Let’s look at a few of them:
- Anger and the Heart
- In the book of Matthew, Jesus warns against harboring anger and hatred in one's heart, suggesting that letting it fester can have a pretty destructive effect. You can find that in Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV): "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment."
- Reconciliation and Forgiveness
- In the same passage Matthew, Jesus encourages us to resolve conflicts and reconcile with others quickly. He suggests that it's better to “leave your gift at the altar,” meaning you should pause what you’re doing and make sure things are set right between you and the person you’re in conflict with instead of letting it grow in your heart. (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Turn the Other Cheek
- In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus teaches the principle of turning the other cheek when someone wrongs you. He encourages his followers not to respond to aggression with aggression, but rather to respond with love and patience. It’s important to note that “turning the other cheek” is not meant to allow someone who has hurt you to get away with it and do it again. But if you’re in a situation where you can extend grace and relieve yourself from the anger you feel, consider forgiveness.
- In the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus instructs his disciples to ask for forgiveness from God as they also forgive those who trespass against them. You can check out our resources on forgiveness if you want to know more. Forgiveness is a powerful act and a complicated subject, so it’s important to explore further if you are angry with someone or if you’d like to seek forgiveness from someone else.
- Be Peacemakers
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus blesses the peacemakers, stating that they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). To Jesus, fostering peace and resolving conflicts should be a priority.
- Admonishing a Brother
- In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus talks about how to address conflict within a community. He suggests first going to the person privately if they've done something to hurt you against you, or if you’ve wronged them. Give them a chance to settle things with you personally. If someone is unwilling to take accountability for their wrong, it might be useful to involve others in seeking reconciliation–asking a friend to talk to someone on your behalf, for example, or going to HR if your boss or coworker isn’t willing to make something right at work.
Jesus teaches the importance of managing anger, addressing it promptly, and striving for reconciliation and forgiveness. He always advocates for a mindset of love, patience, and humility when dealing with conflict. While anger is a natural human emotion, the way it is handled and processed plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy relationships and spiritual well-being. So it’s absolutely 100% okay to be angry… even Jesus felt angry sometimes! Check out Matthew 21 and Mark 11 for proof. Just be intentional about how you act when you’re angry.
What are some of the reasons why we get mad at God?
The main reason we get so upset with God is that we think He owes us something. This usually happens in two ways:
1. We don't get something we want.
Have you ever really wanted a relationship with that perfect girl or guy? Or you really wanted that job you knew for certain would be perfect for you? When these things didn't work out, you no doubt found yourself hurt and disappointed. Our first impulse is almost always to blame God.
Daphne wrote: When we get mad at God it is really like a 2-year-old throwing a fit because Mommy or Daddy won't let them stick their finger in the light socket. The 2-year-old can only see what he/she wants, the parent sees the bigger picture, and the danger. When we are mad at God we show our immaturity, ignorance, and our shortsightedness.
2. We get something we DON'T expect.
When something bad happens to someone we love, or to us, or someone gets really sick, or even dies we wonder why these things have to happen. We think of God as a big genie in the sky who should only give us good things and prevent the bad.
I received a comment from someone who said: Some people wonder why their lives end up being a certain way, and they blame God for it, because if God really cared for them, then He wouldn't let them suffer.
We think, "If God is so loving, why am I in so much pain? Is He punishing me for no reason by allowing horrible things to happen to me, or the people I love, or even the world?"
3. We think God owes us something.
Both of these situations can make a person feel like God doesn't care about us. After all the prayers we've prayed, God still didn't heal your brother's cancer, or get you the job you wanted.
Joe wrote: I have to admit that I am angry at God. The more I have prayed for help and guidance, the more I get nothing. He is ignoring me. It's His right to do with me what He will, but I am frustrated because I have done what I think I am supposed to do and yet no response, no help.
We get angry when we think God owes us something. When in fact, God owes us nothing.
A couple of other reasons:
- We get angry with God when we don't know all the facts. It's so easy to think we know everything, but we can only see a very small part of the picture.
- We get angry at God when we see others claim to know Him, and then act like hypocrites. It's easy to blame God for the faults of others.
These are just a few reasons why people get angry with God. Of course, there are many more.
How to Get Over Being Mad at God - Know What You Can Expect From Him.
If we think God is going to be our genie in a bottle, and make everything good in our lives, we're going to be mad at God when something bad happens. Having faith in God is not insurance against hardships.
In the Bible, Jesus says- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So what can we expect from God?
- His Peace - If we trust in Him and believe in Him we will have peace even in the hard times. Do you want to know how to find this peace? Begin Your Journey To Peace with this great resource from Peace With God.
- God Wins in the End - This world is full of sin, hate and death and that comes from the enemy, Satan, not from God. However, for all those who believe in Jesus, there is glorious, eternal life in heaven.
- His Comfort - He promises to be near those who are hurting. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
- His love - He promises His love for us. "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16) He loves your heart and is with you in the midst of whatever your circumstances.
- Life with greater meaning and significance - If we got everything we thought we wanted, we'd be spoiled and selfish. God is a wise father who knows what we need to become the best men and women we can be.
What can you do when you are mad at God?
1. Tell him how you feel.
The best thing you can do is tell God what you're angry about. He wants to hear from you about what you're thinking and feeling. Tell God honestly where you are at. God knows what's going on inside of you, but He wants to you be able to come to Him with honesty and openness.
2. Place the blame for evil on Satan, not on God.
God is good and Holy and perfect and loving. He is the opposite of evil. You may be mad at God because he didn't prevent the bad from happening to you, but he is not to blame for the bad thing, Satan is. Jesus says in the Bible "The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." (John 10:10)
3. Pray for courage, strength and peace to make it through the day.
Betsy wrote: I find it easiest to leave everything in God's hands and pray that he will care for me and do what's BEST for me, not what I want, but what is best. It's very hard, and I have trouble with that at times, but that is my overall goal.
4. Trust that God will use a hardship for something beyond what you can see.
So can God use everything we go through for a greater purpose? I believe He can. Ask God for understanding to see the bigger picture. Over time, you may see more clearly how God used your trial for good.
Jill wrote honestly: I feel like I have a daily tug of war with God. I know everything happens for a reason, but when you're lonely, broke, bored, and feel helpless, it is really hard to say, okay God, I know you're doing this for a reason.
Betsy echoed Jill's thoughts: After many trials, I learned that it is best to accept what God has done and believe that it is for my good, whether I like it or not.
Believing He does have a reason for everything we go through helps us to trust that something bigger is going on here, even more than we can probably understand. But I'm not God, He is. And I'm just going to trust that He knows what's going on with me.
5. Get involved in other people's lives.
A lot of our anger and frustration in life comes from thinking about ourselves too much - we think about the way things are and how different they are from how we wish they'd be.
Yevgenia wrote: One of the best things I have learned while going through this is God won't put you through something unless he knows you will be able to overcome it. Another way I have used these things in a positive way is by using my experiences to help others who are going through similar things in their lives.
The best way to find joy and peace from the hardships of life is to get involved in other people's lives. Take an interest in other people and their circumstances. Share in their joy and their pain.
6. Decide to have a relationship with God.
The Bible says the only way to know God is by knowing His son, Jesus. Jesus was basically God with skin-on and gave us a way to know who He is, His love, and how to be in a relationship with Him.
Lucas wrote: Sometimes only God will know why He has allowed a trial and sometimes He will reveal its purpose to us. Sometimes it's because He is preparing us for a greater thing. Sometimes it is to show us how little we truly love Him, and to allow us to change. Trials give us an opportunity to build our faith in a way nothing else can.
How have you dealt with your own personal anger toward God? I'd love to hear from you. Please let me know how you got over being upset with God.
It’s hard to have faith when life is hard, but God understands your pain. For more help read this blog: Life is Hard, God Understands
For more on reconciling the goodness of God and bad things in the world read these blogs from organizations we partner with: