Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God~ Job 1:21-22 NASB
It’s been a strange couple of weeks.
There have been moments when I felt as if I might be stuck in a slightly off-kilter version of the movie Groundhog Day. I have had numerous conversations with all sorts of different people who all have vastly different stories but the exact same problem.
At the heart of their individual problems is a situation most of us will experience in our journey through this life. The details of our individual stories differ but at the root of problem is always a terrible or unjust situation that is completely outside of our control.
Sometimes we are born into said situation.
One of the saddest consequences of living in a fallen world is the untold number of children who (through no fault of their own) lose the parental lottery at conception. Those children are subsequently born to immoral, inattentive or sometimes even sadistic parents. The fallout from being born to selfish or cruel parents is experienced well into adulthood.
Other times the situation manifests itself later in life.
A spouse we assumed would always be loyal isn’t. Someone we love is the target of senseless violence. A friend who claimed to be a Christian betrays our trust. The child we raised right goes terribly wrong. A boss or colleague steals the credit. We are the victims of injustice or prejudice. A loved one dies before we think it’s time. Someone tells a lie and our reputation is hurt by that lie.
The problem always begins with being wronged or cheated in some profoundly unpleasant way. Hurt and anger follow, anger takes root in hearts and we do what humans do when we get angry about things that are unjust, unreasonable and completely outside of our control.
We blame God for stuff He had nothing to do with.
We blame God because blaming God gives us an outlet for our rage and because it makes us feel better, at least temporally. Nonetheless, blaming God for things He had nothing to with actually compounds our problems rather than solving them.
Anger is not necessarily a “bad” or a “sinful” emotion. There is such a thing as righteous, just and even healthy anger. Some things in this world are simply horrible, and horrible things ought to make us angry. If they don’t there’s a problem.
Anger misdirected at God—rather than injustice— causes people to act out in sinful, inappropriate, and astonishingly self-destructive ways. Sometimes we indiscriminately vent our wrath on undeserving people or hurt others in the same way we were hurt. Others choose to abuse alcohol, engage in sinful sexual behaviors or use drugs in a misguided attempt to numb the pain and forget the hurt.
We blame God for the actions of people because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of God, human sovereignty and how God relates to His creation. God creates each person wanting them to do good things with the gift of life given to them. That said, God is not a creepy puppet master who forces people to obey His commands or do His bidding. God gave humanity freewill and we are able to use our freedom in anyway we please.
Most folks are comfortable with this arrangement so long as it applies to their own personal choices. However, when individuals use their freewill in a way that hurts others we become enraged with God, the one being in all of existence that is the most outraged and brokenhearted by the depravity and ugliness of the human race.
It is critical to our psychological and spiritual health we remember that God does not cause people to do cruel, insensitive or evil things. Nor does He endorse or support anyone’s bad behavior. God hates evil. That said, just because God allows something to take place it does not mean that anyone is actually getting away with anything.
God promises in His word that there will come a day when every human being who has ever lived will be judged for what they did and didn’t do here on earth (Revelation 20:11-15). It is imperative we remember that NOTHING goes unnoticed by God and every deed, thought and motivation will ultimately come under His judgment (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Until that day, we need to go to God with our pain, rather than blaming Him for it. Blaming God for stuff He had nothing to do with inevitably leads to shunning the only one who can give us the comfort, peace and healing we really need.