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by Felix Amiri
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James 1:20: “... for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God”.

In its noblest form, anger is the reaction to the violation of rights, dignity or ideals (such as what is true or good). Sadly, our anger is seldom noble; it is often self-centered. With this background, there often arises the presumption that God, if He is truly good, must guard our self-centered ideals and interests. Thus, the right and legitimacy of God to be God are measured (perhaps only by some people) according to how well He caters to human interests and expectations.

Christians may not grapple with the legitimacy of God being God. We have our own issues and questions to address: There is the claim, among Christians, that we may be angry as long as we do not sin. This is with reference to Eph 4:26: “BE ANGRY, AND {yet} DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (NASB). It is argued, on the basis of this verse and the examples of Christ’s apparent anger in John 2:15 and Matt 3:7, that unselfish and righteous anger is all right. We know, however, that unselfish and righteous people are hard to come by. Even if we find them, we might also find that they are not prone to anger. Most people that we meet are sinners (whether or not they have been saved by grace and whether or not they go to church). They are also prone to selfish and unrighteous anger. Therefore they have no right to be angry, much less with God Almighty.

The rest of Ephesians Chapter 4 (e.g. verses 31 & 32) and several other Bible passages (Ps. 37:8, Pr. 14:17, Pr. 16:32, Pr. 19:11, Ec. 7:9, Mt. 5:22, Phil. 4:4-8, Co. 3:8, Tit. 1:7, James 1:19 & 20, etc.) seem to teach contrary to any understanding that it is permissible for us to be angry.

Any attempt to justify our anger towards God or other people is as inexcusable as the anger itself. It is of course irreverent to be angry with God. Our anger with God is rooted in the sin of irreverence. It exposes our disregard for His wisdom, righteousness, goodness and grace. Similarly, it is our disobedience that leads to the venting of our anger to God: We vent anger to God because we have not forgiven those who might have offended us as Christ commands.

Yes, God has allowed and desires us to freely approach Him because He is our Father and He loves us. Nevertheless, He is Almighty God. Our reverence for Him must precede our fellowship with Him. Whereas an illusion of fellowship with God is possible where there is no reverence for Him; only true reverence for God produces a refreshing fellowship with Him.

A common fallacy suggests that it is better to be honest and express our anger to God instead of being secretly angry. Nothing is more misleading. Sadly, we can be honest with God without being obedient to Him. While it is good to be honest with God; it is wrong and irreverent to vent anger to Him, never mind being angry with Him. Let us suppose that God, while we are venting our anger at or to Him, confronts us with our own faithlessness and transgressions, what would our answer be?

People may not be dropping dead when they act with irreverence towards God. This does not mean that God desires such irreverence. There are actual Biblical examples of people who dropped dead because of irreverence - II Samuel 6:6 & 7 , Acts 5: 1-5. Whether expressed or suppressed, entertaining anger towards God is not different from the irreverence of Uzzah, Ananias & Sapphira for which they suffered instant death. If we are permitted to express anger at or to God in our prayers, the Lord would have taught this in the pattern of prayer that He gave to us - Matthew 6: 9-15.

Bible passages (the Psalms and the book of Job) are often cited as the examples of how we may freely question God. This suggests that it is acceptable to emulate the human weaknesses, ignorance and self-centeredness that we are warned against by the very Scriptures that are cited. Besides, it is incorrect to simply conclude that the Bible provides examples of confronting God that we ought to emulate. It is wrong, from every perspective imaginable, to be angry with God or to express anger to Him. The creature is never in any position to be angry with the Creator. Secondly, we, who are ourselves sinners, have no right to be angry at the sins of others even if we erroneously think that they have sinned against us. All sins (theirs and ours) are ultimately against God. Thirdly, if we are obedient to God, and since we also need God’s forgiveness, we should truly forgive those who “trespass against us”. Otherwise, we would be immediately guilty of not obeying God - Mt. 5:21 & 22.

God does or allows only what is right according to His infinite wisdom, therefore being angry with Him is unjustifiable. It is tantamount to ignoring His righteousness and grace. As for expressing our frustrations to God, this is ill-advised. Our own transgressions effectively strip us of the right to do so. God’s wisdom, righteousness and justice also preclude the need for us to express frustrations at or to Him about anything or anyone. God already deals wisely, righteously and justly with all situations affecting us. This is so, unless our sin of unbelief causes us to presume that He has not. At all times, and in every situation, we must acquiesce to God Almighty with a contrite heart; not a complaining spirit.

Where there is any frustration, if there is any felt anger towards God, there must immediately be a confession that such frustration or anger is wrong. Confessing our anger to God is quite different from expressing our anger at or to Him. God must never be addressed with confrontational questions. Instead of venting anger at or to God, one must pray for forgiveness and help.

God’s mercy is not a license for us to engage in what is known to displease Him. The Bible clearly teaches that some murmured in anger and did not enter the Promised Land - Numbers 14:26-35. Moses did not enter the Promised Land because of his anger - Numbers 20: 7 - 12. God also sent fiery serpents among the people because they spoke against Him and His appointed servant, Moses - Numbers 21:5 & 6.

No impudence is justifiable even if it is under the pretext of being honest with God. A genuine appreciation for God’s immeasurable mercy, grace, sovereignty and love makes it practically impossible to express anger at or to Him. The love of Christ constrains us to perpetual gratitude. On the basis of God’s grace alone, never mind His sovereignty, the only acceptable human response is to revere and love God; it is not to freely vent anger at or to Him. Irrespective of the situation or our understanding of it, we must worship God. It is only reasonable for us to gratefully capitulate under God. Genuine humility under God is marked by genuine thankfulness for privileges received. We have nothing save what God has granted to us - I Corinthians 4:7. Without God we would have nothing, let alone any rights. We would have no peace, comfort, goodness, forgiveness, heavenly treasures, inheritance, life or hope.

Even when other people violate our presumed rights or dignity, this is all done under God. As surely as He is holy, loving, sovereign and wise, God delivers ultimate justice. Whether we are assailed or afflicted, we are safely in His hands. If we receive bountiful blessings of peace and plenty, it is because of His grace.

Therefore we do not need to fight for rights; our fight should be against temptations and deception. We need not guard against the violation of our rights and dignity; we should commit instead to guarding our hearts with truth, love and grace. The love that says “it is all right to vent anger at or to God” is not love but a mere aberration. Our sensitivity should not be to the injustice that we may suffer; we should be sensitive instead to the Holy Spirit’s presence. We should simply trust God, instead of venting our anger to Him. God’s faithfulness protects us against injustices. Our efforts or alertness are bound to fail us in these matters; but God is eternally faithful, wise and infallible. Even when we show marked irreverence and unfaithfulness, He remains faithful in helping us. This is grace beyond human comprehension.

A life application scenario is provided below for you to work through.


Every “YES” below supports the resolve that we are free to be angry and express our anger at or to God; but every “NO” rejects such a resolve.

This is a fictitious but possible situation:

A rich and influential man in your town desired to have your home because of its prime location. Instead of negotiating to buy it from you, he decided to take you to court on some concocted story. Due to his influence, he was awarded your home and the police evicted you and your family, throwing your belongings onto the street with no where for you and your family to go. Your church has graciously provided you with a space in the church basement. You have no job and now no address. The places you are applying to for work require you to have an address in order to show that you are respectable. Even the police and government offices that you have contacted to report your case favor the rich man because of corruption and would not listen to your plight.

Does this warrant being angry With God? - Yes ____ No______

Does this warrant the expression of anger to God? - Yes ____ No______

(In answering the next questions, consider the Biblical requirement for those who are spiritually mature: complete faith in God, perpetual thankfulness, complete obedience to His commands including the command for us Christians to forgive those who trespass against us, including our enemies, for us to be a consistent testimony concerning God’s love and grace, and for us to be holy as He is holy - 1 Pet 1:16).

Does the expression of anger in this situation reflect the desirable spiritual maturity and testimony that are expected of Christians? - Yes ____ No______

Is the level of spiritual immaturity that allows us to be angry in a situation like this the level that we should be content with? - Yes ____ No______

Can we truly be where Christ expects us to be spiritually and still be inclined to expressing anger at or to God? - Yes ____ No______

If, “because we are humans”, it is impossible for us to be consistently and completely where Christ expects us to be in this life does that justify our anger before God even in a situation such as is described? – Yes ____ No______

Suppose God confronts us with these questions while we are venting our anger at or to Him:
(a) Why are you angry if you know that I am in charge of your life; and not you or that person who has offended you?
(b) Why are you angry if you have forgiven your enemy as I have commanded you to?
(c) What right have you to be angry when you have not shown complete and consistent obedience to my commands?
(d) Why are you angry at me, or why are you telling me about your anger when you do not demonstrate that you know me to the full extent that I have revealed myself to you?

Would we have any justifiable answers for these questions? - Yes ____ No______

You should now review your answers and draw your own conclusion. Is it ever all right to be angry and express our anger to God? - Yes ____ No______

Copyright © 2007 by Felix Amiri - “Vital Truth and Precepts”

If you have questions, you may contact: felix@afisservices.ca

Also for further information about the author and his other works please visit the Nuggets of Truth website - http://www.afisservices.ca.

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