This is a question that so many of us seem to struggle with. The answer seems to be no from the sense of pressure around us. But what does the Bible teach. Let me start here with a reflection of the book of Job.
Job is likely the oddest book in the Bible. This is because Job seems to rail against God in much of the book, charging God with a massive amount of unfairness. Job’s boldness is rather astounding, but the real shocker is that his friends who repeat loads of traditional wisdom to him are considered to be wrong. The question that comes to mind, “why is this?”
I believe Job is seen as justified in his reaction to God because it was real. When I say real, I mean that Job let God know how he felt with all he was. Job didn’t hold back. Job was mad and he let God know it. I am convinced that this is the model that we are to follow with God. I became more convinced of this during my study of the book of Psalms last year.
No matter who the Psalmist was, he was real with God. Sometimes the joy was uncontainable, other times the anguish was unbearable. Whatever the case, it was raw emotion expressed to God. As I studied the book of Psalms, and reflected back to the book of Job, I began to think, “why aren’t we this raw and real with God?” Perhaps the answer is that we are scared to be. Maybe we feel weird having this kind of relationship with an invisible guy. It could be any of these, but I tend to believe that it comes down to an over sensitivity to acting right. No doubt that the Bible teaches how we are to act, but the fact is that God calls us into a relationship with Him. God said in Isaiah 1:18,
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
These are the words of a God that cares and desires a relationship with us. Jesus calls the Disciples friends in John 15:15,
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus shared with them everything He learned from the Father. These are just a few examples of the type of relationship that God wants with us. So back to the question. Is it okay to be mad at God? Let me state this clearly–YES!!! We can let God know exactly how we feel about Him. We can be free to question if He is listening or even cares at all. We can unload on God. We are not going to hurt His feelings. But perhaps a couple cautions. God is not a big fan of mere belly aching, check Numbers 21:4-9. Also, relationships require reconciliation to remain relationships. Don’t stay mad. Learn to work things out with God.
God is listening. He does care. If we are a people that praise Him and rail against Him with the same vigor, then I believe we will see that God doesn’t want emotionless automatons. Believe me, God can take it. In fact, I am certain He wants to take it. Our relationship with God is not a whole lot different from our relationships with others. If we refuse to “clear the air”, then the relationship cannot move on. We need to let God know that we are mad at Him. Of course, there is an oddity in the whole thing. God knows that you are angry. You know you are angry. You know God knows you are angry, but you still don’t let it out. I have been there. I have been convinced that God was going to work in a certain way, but He didn’t. I was hurt, angry, and felt betrayed. I honestly resented God for a while. “How could He let me down?!” The fact is that I don’t own God. I don’t get to tell Him what to do. I don’t contract Him to do things for me in return for “being good”. I set up an unrealistic expectation, and God never agreed to my terms”. This left me angry. I eventually figured out that I was being foolish to expect to be able to setup expectations like hoops for God to jump through. Now make no mistake, God answers prayer, but even Jesus closed His prayer, “yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Perhaps we could save a lot of heart ache if we began to petition God with this in mind.
We are made to be in full relationship with God. Some time that gets messy. Sometimes we get angry. Sometimes we just need to let God know just how we feel, whether good or ill. We are relational creatures created in the image of a relational God. Let us learn to be relational. Let us be real with God. And maybe, just maybe, we can learn what it means to love and be loved by the Creator of all things.