Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)
TITLE: Angry Towards God
By Doug Laird
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While understanding the purpose of suffering requires a considerable degree of spiritual maturity, we cannot just simply divorce ourselves from all the emotions that make us human. Where we get in spiritual trouble, is after we have given ourselves the time it takes to recover from the unexpected impact of the “bad news”, we must then choose to respond doctrinally instead of reacting emotionally. Depending on where we are in our relationship with God prior to the onset of the adversity, the transfer from an emotional to a doctrinal response can be almost immediate or in some cases be something that never takes place for the rest of a person’s time here on earth. We all know of cases where believers’ lives are forever marred as a result of a person’s inability to deal with a loss or unfulfilled expectation.
We cannot change what has happened. Everything that happens to us remains a part of us and determines who and what we are. But when we allow disappointments and adversity to come between God and us, it is we who have failed Him, not the other way around. Everything that happens to us is either sent or allowed to take place by the direct, permissive or over-ruling will of God. Adversity and blessings are from the same Hand (Job 2: 10) and have a divine purpose.
Anger is a natural response when we, or those close to us, are injured. It is a natural response as is the desire to return an equal or greater injury to the ones we hold responsible.
While God understands our human natures, Christians are called to do what is supernatural, not what is natural. Under the power of God the Holy Spirit, we can learn to respond doctrinally and avoid the pitfalls and inevitable consequences of reacting emotionally. Unrestrained emotional responses have ruined many a good lives.
What angers most of us is unfulfilled expectations & disappointments. Therefore, we must be careful that we do not impose unrealistic expectations on ourselves or on others. When legitimate expectations are not met, we must be willing to forgive others just as quickly and completely as we desire God to forgive us.
Dealing with disappointments is a matter of accepting His will over our own. Granted, this is easy to say but can be very hard to do. Whoever said that discipleship was going to be easy?
We turn the curse into the blessing when we ask WHAT it is that God desires to accomplish in sending or allowing the “bad news” to occur and not ask WHY. Many of the WHYS will NOT be answered this side of Heaven, but we must, in faith, trust God who either sent the adversity or allowed it to take place and seek His will in the aftermath. It is in adversity that we have the greatest opportunity to spiritually mature and to glorify God. Suffering, therefore, is an essential part of the post-salvation spiritual life (Phil.1: 29).
I am not saying that it is always wrong to be angry. There is a time and place for Godly anger. The Lord Jesus Christ was angry when He overturned the tables in the Temple (John 2: 15). He was angry over the Pharisees’ hardened and “religious” hearts during many of their confrontations.
When dealing with our moments of anger, we must first determine the source of our anger. Anger towards God is a manifestation of the fallen nature (2Cor.12: 20). Anger towards God threatens our own relationship with Him and can defeat us in the very purpose for which we were created. Therefore, it must be dismissed and replaced with a doctrinal response and attitude. If our anger is of a Godly nature, we must vent it in a constructive manner by addressing the sin (when appropriate), but never by attacking the sinner.
Either way, physicians, psychologists, and theologians will all agree that pent up anger will cause much more harm to the one who harbors it than it will ever do the person(s) or the object(s) we are angry with.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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