Summary: Anger at God is normal when we or someone we love goes through hard times. Most Christians (and others) get angry with God from time to time. Bible verses in this online study show us that we can be honest with God, and that he understands when we express our anger. Yet we can move beyond anger and into praise, for God loves us more than we can imagine. This Bible study is for individuals or small groups.
Summary: The Bible says be honest when you are angry with God, but don’t stop there.
Doug Britton Books
Practical • Biblical • Cross-Cultural
Is it a Sin to Be Angry with God?
It’s Normal to Be Mad at God Sometimes (Just Don’t Stay There)
Doug Britton, MFT
My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)
Getting angry with God: Introduction
Have you ever gotten angry with God when you or someone you love goes through hard times? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, many people get angry with God from time to time.
People who get mad at God often feel guilty about their anger, thinking it makes God angry with them. Their guilt sometimes drives them into feeling condemned, or distant from God.
This Bible study on anger with God can be studied by an individual or a small group. May God direct and bless you as you study.
God understands when you are angry with him
One thing I appreciate about God is that I can be real with him. If I am angry with God, I can be honest about it instead of thinking I must hide it or act “religious.” I am delighted that in some of the Psalms David openly expressed anger or frustration with God, yet God did not give up on David.
Although it’s a normal thing to do, it’s unfortunate that we get angry with God, for he is our best friend. Yet since we are human, it happens.
What’s both interesting and encouraging to me is that almost every time David expressed complaints toward God, he ended up praising God.
It’s just the same with our friends and family. We get angry with them at times, yet in the end we turn back to them since we love them and we know they love us.
I’m not saying it’s a good thing to get angry with God. When I get angry with him, I am showing how little I understand his love, his goodness, and his purpose for my life. I need to face my anger and deal with it, as David did.
The better I know God, and the longer I walk with him, the less likely I am to be angry with him. But if I do get angry, I am glad he understands and helps me come to a place of repentance.
Bible verses describing people who were angry with God
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:1-6)
O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you. (Psalm 35:17-18)
I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:9-11)
Notice that in each of these Bible passages, the writer started out complaining, but ended up praising. It’s normal to get angry with God. But as you reflect on who he is, you remember that you can trust in his unfailing love, for he is your savior and your God.
Four-step Bible study on anger with God
1. Start with prayer.
Ask God to speak to your heart as you study.
2. Read verses 1-6 and 22-31 of Psalm 22.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. (Psalm 22:1-6)
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it. (Psalm 22:22-31)
3. Ask yourself (or your small group) these questions about anger with God.
- What part of this Psalm spoke to you the most? Why?
- What do you think about David (the person who wrote Psalm 22) complaining so openly to God?
- How did David conclude his complaint? Why do you think he ended it this way?
- What did you learn from this study?
4. End with prayer.
Ask God to help you better know his love, and to trust him more than ever.
Next: God’s love for you
Bible-based steps to handle difficult situations with grace
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Copyright © 2007, 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.