Why Are Believers Mad at God? Part 1
Does the Bible teach that people who claim to believe in God can hate God? Jesus said, “He who hates Me hates My Father also” (John 15:23). So according to Jesus, yes, people can hate God the Father. And for those of us who believe Jesus is God’s Son, people can hate the Son of God.
The apostle Paul tells us that there will be “haters of God” (Romans 1:30).
People who believe in God can hate God. You cannot hate someone you do not believe exists.
Listen to these people who e-mailed me about being angry at God. They are mad at Him and some seem to hate Him.
"I have been divorced . . . for seven years due to him having an affair and getting the other girl pregnant—who also had been married. I am a workaholic and yet I have single-handedly raised my son by myself since the day he was born, because my ex-husband felt that children were not the father’s responsibility. I recognize that from the beginning my marriage was doomed because I didn't have family support or friend support to help me find the tools to get off the crazy cycle created from a lifetime of watching my parents’ bad relationship and then marrying a man unable to love me and that I didn't respect. . . . I hated God during this time period.”
A wife expressed, "Why was [my husband] sick? How could I manage? My life would be ruined. I resented God. I was mad at God."
A husband wrote, "I had grown very bitter and angry at God over the past twenty-four years due to the relationship between my wife and me. . . . Did God not understand that I have reeled in intense emotional pain . . . ? Is He just totally disregarding my prayers that I have prayed for so many years? Does He not care or see that I have willfully chosen to honor my commitment and not wanted a divorce? Has He not seen how I have continually set my own desires aside to serve my wife, and tried to show her love? Does none of that count? For anything? Does He not care how this has affected my sons? Has He not seen how I have refrained from plunging into an affair, not for lack of opportunity, but because I knew it was wrong? Does He not recognize that numerous times I contemplated ending my life but didn't because that is the ultimate expression of sinful pride and I knew it would solve nothing?"
Death of Loved Ones
A woman wrote, "Two years ago my mother was in the hospital for two to three weeks. We as a family had to decide to take the breathing machine off of her. That was the hardest decision our family did. To watch my dad was very difficult, for I had never seen my dad cry in my whole life until those few weeks in the hospital. My mom died because of a brain aneurysm. I was heartbroken. She was my life other than Willard my husband. But my mom was my outlet to the rest of my siblings in my family as to what they were doing. My mom also told me how Dad was doing, so I didn't have to talk to him, for I never had a good relationship with him. Then four months later my father was killed in a car accident and that just killed me. I couldn't take it. I didn't understand why the Lord would take both my parents away from me. I hate God for it."
Silence of God in the Face of Marriage Struggles
"I would never have gotten married if I had known what I was going to get into. I feel that I have been lied to. Deceived. I was sold a bill of goods. My life sucks. I almost feel like Job, never wishing I was born, but wishing that I had never gotten married. I am so sick of trying. I am so tired. Nothing that I do is working. . . . The worst part right now is God. Where the hell is He? There is no comfort. There is nothing but pain. I am so mad at God right now.”
Single and Alone
A mom e-mailed me, "I am seeking direction for my daughter, age twenty-three. As she continues to pray for her mate she is angry at God because she sees everyone else falling in love and finding their mate.”
Male Visual Orientation and Temptations
A wife told me, "I have been totally insecure and very afraid of how he is wired to look, and almost angry at God for making this such a temptation for men ever since all this started."
Subjected to Unjust Requests: Inappropriate Sexual Demands
A wife shared, "I'm ready to buy the CDs of your workshop if you think they may help in our situation, but I'm a bit afraid he'll hear all the things I'm supposed to do and when it comes back to our issue, he'll say I should respect his opinion or something. If I have to submit in this area (which I've tried) it only makes me hate sex and hate him and hate God. I used to really like sex."
God Did Not Come Through
“My husband was once a youth pastor, who is now running from God! His heart is so hard towards God, I take my three children to church and he refuses to go. I really don't know why, but one reason I'm guessing is he is mad at God and feels like God did not come through for him at certain times when he needed him."
When Not Getting My Way
A husband wrote, "Her parents are here as I write; talking with her about the severe pride and control she has over me, her friends, and her family strictly from their perspective. They realize she is unhappy and angry at God, me, and the world and we all believe it is due mostly to the extreme pride and control my wife has and how she wants everything her way."
What Does the Bible Reveal as the Reason Believers Hate God?
When evaluating closely all of the above stories, I find that typically each falls under one of four categories:
- Cursing when suffering
- Hostile when disobeying
- Hating when proven guilty
- Raging when foolish
When I Suffer, Do I Curse God?
The sufferings of Job and his wife reveal the crossroads many come to. When suffering comes to us, will we hate God or love and worship Him?
Satan clearly hoped that Job would curse God on the heels of tragedy (Job 1:11; 2:5).
When that suffering devastated Job and his wife, she said to Job, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
But Job did not curse God. Instead, he worshiped Him. However, Job’s wife’s comments revealed her diseased soul. The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. She was cursing God.
The good side of suffering, which we observe with Job, is that it allows a person to discover that they genuinely love God.
Sarah, my wife, when learning she had cancer, found herself worshipping and thanking God in the midst of the unknown. She discovered for certain that she wanted to trust and obey God no matter what, even if it entailed death.
Fact is, we do not know if we love God until we have the opportunity to hate God. We do not know if we really trust Him until the possibility presents itself to doubt and distrust Him.
Tragedy does not cause the heart to hate God but reveals the heart’s state and decision to hate God. I need to insert that some classify their situation as tragic when the tragedy is imagined.
A person wrote me about a friend: "She professes Christ as Savior but I see no fruit. She hardly ever reads her Bible and told me the other day she was mad at God because He allowed her to marry a pastor. She is a pastor's kid and wants out of church all together."
Marrying a pastor is hardly a tragedy justifying hostility toward God.
But during real times of suffering, it is certainly okay for that true suffering to cause us to ask, “Why God?” Even Christ on the cross asked, “Why . . . ?” It is not un-Christlike to ask why.
However, some denounce God. They wholly expect Him, as the Sovereign One, to block the suffering; and when the suffering is not halted, they no longer view God as nice. We read in the book of Revelation, "Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory” (16:9). We see this repeated in verses 11 and 21.
God had the power to stop the pain but did not; therefore they blasphemed God.
Where are you in your marriage and family? Has tragedy come to you? Which direction will you head? The way of Job or Job’s wife? The way of blessing God’s name or blaspheming His name? The way of loving God or hating Him? The way of believing in God’s love or believing in His hate?
I have no answer as to why the tragedy struck. I will never dismiss the potential of my own heart to feel as your heart feels. However, none of us can escape the crossroads.
Questions to Consider
- Do you have any stories similar to those who wrote Emerson above? How did you respond to God in your situation(s)?
- Do you believe that someone who truly knows and has a relationship with Jesus can really hate Him, if even for only a brief time? Explain.
- What is your typical response when you suffer? Have you ever cursed God in your suffering?
- Emerson wrote, “Tragedy does not cause the heart to hate God but reveals the heart’s state and decision to hate God.” Do you agree with this or disagree? Explain.