Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Back to Eagle's Questions

Eagle asked:

1. Can a Christian be disappointed in God? Can they ever be angry at God? If not…then why? Why do Christians always attribute positive acts to God and negative acts to Satan? Why don’t they ever hold God responsible? Why don’t Christians ever get frustrated publically about God? Do they believe its a sin…and if that Biblical?

I will start giving my views on the above and others can chime in. I certainly can't take on all those questions without making this post too long.

Can Christians be disappointed/angry in/with God? I don't know if that word "Can" means possible or allowed in this case. Of course it is possible as all of us are at times. No human has ever lived on this earth that has not been disappointed in God or in at least our image of God. Most Evangelicals believe that God is in control and predetermines all life's events so they can't be angry at anything or disappointed in anything without it reflecting the same towards God who, in their eyes, holds the puppeteer strings.

When my mission experience failed, and I still believed that God held the strings, I was mad as hell. I had done everything but self-flagellation in my idea of obedience, yet everything went wrong. What made me the most angry was the fact that everyone assumed (when we failed) that it must be my fault. So I felt a deep betrayal by God.

So, this is where I finally realized that God chooses not to hold the strings to these things, but allows our sin and the sin of others to play themselves out in the real world causing real suffering and harm. I don't feel angry at God so much. I still get pissed.

One could easily then say, if God had the power to intervene but then choose not to, that would piss you off too. Sometimes I might flirt with this idea. I'm sure if I were diagnosed with cancer I would go through this phase. But now is where I fall back on that mystery of God that I don't understand. Why does He allow the crap to happen, which He didn't cause, but He didn't interfere with either?

If you meant "allowed" for can, well, I hate to put artificial barriers on reality. What I mean is, if you are pissed, you are pissed. If you are pissed at God, then the reality of it is that you are pissed at God. By saying you are or are not allowed to be pissed is irrelevant. But is it sin? I would put it this way, if we all lived in a perfect world where sin had never entered, where things went well . . . always . . . then there would be no need for anger or being pissed at God or anyone. So it is the consequence of sin in the world. But, as you know, Ephesians 4 it says (as a directive) to be angry. There it makes the point of bitterness being the sin and not the anger.

I think the reason that Ephesians makes that distinction has to do with free will. What I mean is, anger is instinctive. If some one cut me off on the freeway, and then gave ME the bird (happened the other day) I feel angry. I think all humans feel angry in those situations. All humans feel angry when they are betrayed and they have no free will in the matter. A lot of Evangelicals do live in denial about their angry. They stab you in the back, while smiling and say that they were never angry at you.

With that said, even blocking bitterness is not an easy free will exercise. I mean, when you are really, really angry, it is hard to block its flow into bitterness. It can be a constant struggle to fight the intrusive, and highly emotional, hateful thoughts. The fighting has to be 24-7 for days, weeks . . . or even years. Those who say that instantly they forgive and forget are usually in denial. True forgiveness, and the loss of personal anger and hate, is more like a long process of trench warfare within the soul. But I'm talking about true forgiveness and true loss of anger and not just the pretending of such.

I hated my old missionary boss for about three years. I fought the hatred every single day. Yes, I was bitter. I honestly don't know what I could have done to have ended the bitterness any sooner. So, yes bitterness is sin, but it, in my opinion, can't be stopped by simple human will very easily. Most evangelicals know that bitterness is sin, so they fix the problem by pretending . . . lying to others and to themselves that they are not bitter.

Those are some of my opinions and others may have better answers.

1 comment:

Eagle said...

Thnaks for your comments MJ!!!