Why Are Believers Mad at God? Part 2
In part 1, we began by asking why many believers get mad at God. Of the many stories I’ve been told and letters I’ve been sent, I have concluded that almost all instances of believers being angry with God fall under one of four categories. The first we discussed was cursing when suffering. Here in part 2, we’ll discuss two more categories—hostile when disobeying and hating when proven guilty.
When I Disobey God, Am I Hostile?
I mentioned previously a youth pastor who felt God had failed to come through for him, and now his wife was writing me, frustrated. She continued, "I also feel like he is tired of walking the line and he wants to go out and have fun and not feel guilty for his thoughts and actions, being a Christian is no fun!”
Over the years people have candidly confessed, “I was angry and mad at God because it conveniently enabled me to live a selfish and sensual life.”
They chose and loved carnal pleasure. As the apostle Paul penned, they were "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4) . When one refuses to be a lover of God, by default one becomes a hater of God. When loving pleasure, one tends to resent God for running interference.
When a person chooses sin or gives into the sinful nature, "the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:7).
We need to recognize that within our carnal nature is a natural hostility toward God. When we set our mind on the flesh, hostility toward God automatically exudes from every pore of our body. For this reason we must not set our minds on the things of the flesh but on Christ or the Spirit of Christ. By default when we give into the carnal side, we get irritated at God. When a person indulges the carnal side of self, hostility toward God surfaces.
For the believer in God, instead of saying, “I hate God” they become practical atheists. Usually they say, “I don’t know if I believe in God.” When one can remove God from the equation, one is free to pursue carnal pleasures. But their atheism is temporary.
Others, though, find it tough to dismiss God, and thus God’s presence creates a problem. The best way of distancing God, who runs interference on one’s carnal wallowing, is to develop reasons for disliking God. Instead of confessing as sin one’s love of carnal pleasure, one blames God for not helping them overcome the temptations. Getting mad at God for not helping them with these carnal cravings and yieldings, allows the person to not face the true culprit: themselves. Beyond that, since God doesn’t help, what’s the point in trying? One then chases after more pleasure. Finding reasons to blame and disdain God makes hedonistic appetites easier to indulge.
The flesh especially feels this hostility toward God when hearing the call to submit to God’s will and law at odds with one’s cravings (like sex with anybody). Some resent the church and God. This is observed under the next point.
When Proven Guilty, Do I Hate God?
Why do people hate the Lord? Because He convicts them. Jesus said, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).
The Lord will speak either with His still, small voice or through a person, “What you are doing is wrong and sinful.”
Whereas some folks humble themselves before the love, authority, and holiness of God, others resent Him when convicted. The hair on the back of their head stands up. Of course, when we want what we want and our loving Lord reveals that He disapproves of what we want, this makes arrogant and selfish people mad. When their deeds are classified as evil, they hate the Lord.
One person who wrote me captured a common struggle: "But, I must say, that I can't argue with the Scripture references you quoted. That alone is convicting. So, I've been trying, although all of the sudden, my tongue feels dead and fuzzy . . . Your message is not easy . . . Even as I am typing this, my stomach is rebelling . . .” But her heart shifted and she ended the e-mail with, "Thanks for your hard words.”
Another individual said, "I must admit that I have to ‘mull over’ some of your teaching, but it is biblically based, and the Holy Spirit keeps revealing my rebellion, contempt, disobedience, etc. I keep asking the Lord for strength to implement your suggestions, and He is so faithful!"
Hearing truth from another, a person wrote, it "convicted my heart about how rebellious I have been. Whether intentionally or not, I was not following God's command . . . I confessed to God my rebellion and asked forgiveness and His help to be what He wants me to be because on my own I can't do it. . . . This has been the most incredible week. I have watched how God has worked . . . using me as an instrument. . . . I am rejoicing in God's overflowing blessings. My life has been changed. . . . We still have a lot to work on in our marriage, and the sting of the last few months still lingers but I rejoice in the suffering that has brought me to this point. God's goodness and grace is indescribable, like the peace that passes all understanding!"
We can either respond to God’s conviction or rebel. This person encountered the love and power of God in the midst of suffering instead of hating God for failing to love and act with power according to this person’s wishes.
In part 3, we will discuss the final category in which many angry believers find themselves in, as well as the importance of confronting, not disguising, one’s hatred toward God.
Questions to Consider
- Why can people become hostile when disobeying God?
- Why does hearing the call to submit to God’s will and law cause some to resent God and the church?
- Why does guilt cause many to hate God?
- Share a time when you ignored or rebelled against God’s conviction. Did the guilt go away? Have you since responded the way God was asking?