To say that “it’s been a rough few months for Bill O’Reilly” would essentially be the understatement of the year. In fact, it’s been more like Reputation Hell. As you’re all aware, the disgraced former Fox News host of The O’Reilly Factor and longtime king of cable news recently fell from decades of national TV fame amongst allegations of sexual harassment from several former female colleagues, including notable names like Andrea Tantaros and regular guests like Wendy Walsh. According to a recent NY Times piece, O’Reilly settled with one accuser for around $32 million — an article that O’Reilly quickly slammed as being full of “lies and smears.”
The [alleged] massive amount of the settlement, however, has caused many to wonder if he was indeed guilty of the accusations levied against him. Former Fox host Gretchen Carlson even tweeted: “Nobody pays $32m for false allegations — nobody.” Of course, the counter argument is that if you’re a zillionaire like O’Reilly and you just want the whole situation to go away for the sake of your family’s well-being, you might as well lay down the money to make it happen.
O’Reilly continues to maintain his innocence and in our country you are indeed innocent until proven guilty. Not to mention that Carlson — along with former Fox host Megyn Kelly — spoke highly of O’Reilly on multiple occasions throughout their careers and even gave him handwritten thank-you letters expressing their gratitude for his friendship. It’s hard to argue that someone is a sexual deviant or that you “complained” about his behavior when you also once referred to him as “a class act” and thanked him for attending your baby shower.
Anyway, during Monday evening’s episode of his new web series No Spin News, Bill admitted to his audience that not only is he upset with left-wing media outlets like the NY Times, but that he’s also “mad at God” for his current circumstances:
You know, am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at Him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn’t happen. I can’t explain it to you. Yeah I’m mad at Him.”
Speaking about his left-wing adversaries, he also added:
If they could literally kill me, they would. If I die tomorrow, and I get an opportunity, I’ll say, ‘Why’d you guys work me over like that? Didn’t [you] know my children were going to be punished? And they’re innocent.”
Now, regardless of what you might think about Bill O’Reilly as a public figure, political commentator or as a man, he’s still a human being. He has emotions. You might think that he’s an egomaniacal jerk or a political hack or a loudmouthed, white-privileged bigot or even a sexist, womanizing monster who should rot in jail for the rest of his life. And some of the latter could even be true. After all, I don’t know the guy personally and you probably don’t either. I only know the Bill who I saw on TV for less than an hour every weekday evening. Nothing has been taken into a courtroom battle. Nothing has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. We don’t know which (if any) of the allegations were or are true. If anything comes out as true, I’ll be among the first to ardently condemn his behavior as I’ve done with multiple situations in the past. For now, he gets the benefit of the doubt. But, none of this changes the reality that he’s just as much of a person as you and I. And in the midst of a difficult trial — or prolonged season of suffering — it’s only natural to be upset with God.
So, in light of Bill’s comment — which was quickly blasted by many godless leftists, Internet trolls and feminist airheads like the cackling hens on The View — I want to use this as an opportunity to discuss the notion that people (especially Christians) don’t, can’t or shouldn’t get “mad at God.”
First, let’s clear this up: Yes, even Christians (and even famous broadcasters of Irish-Catholic descent) get angry at God. (Shocking, I know.) Yes, it’s wrong (and we’ll get to that in a minute), but it does happen. It probably has something to do with that whole “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” thing. (Romans 3:23) Any professing longtime Christ-follower who says they’ve never been angry at God is either lying — and now has two sins to confess — or is simply delusional.
Furthermore, the truth is that there’s a difference between being directly angry at God and being angry at or about the circumstances that He, in His divine purposes and omniscience, allows to enter into our lives. Whether O’Reilly did indeed bring these situations upon himself or whether they’re a result of some larger left-wing media smear campaign, there’s no denying that he’s absolutely “suffered.” Sure, he’s still a multimillionaire with a highly successful website and a line of bestselling books, but the man did lose his illustrious career, his annual salary, his nightly televised soapbox which had become a personal passion, his reputation and countless fans. For someone of his position, I imagine that was a tough pill to swallow. I’m not even remotely suggesting that you should pity him, I’m simply pointing out that an element of loss has occurred here.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t excuse him — or any of us — from being angry at God in times of loss and hardship, no matter how small or great the loss may be. Why? Well, let’s look at the Merriam-Webster definition of “anger” — “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” There’s a bit of an annoying vagueness to this definition though. I can get angry at my car for not starting, but that’s not my car’s fault. It might displease me, but my car is an inanimate object; a thing. It can’t make conscious choices. People can. And God can. So, if we assume that God is who His Word says He is, then it follows that He can and does consciously allow certain trials and tribulations to enter into our lives for greater purposes (see stories like Jonah and Saul/Paul and Job) and that if we’re angry at Him for doing so, we’re then suggesting that He is not in control or that He has somehow made an error in His actions.
Thus, while it might be a normal reaction — in the “naturally human” sense — to be angry at God during a period of suffering, it is still always wrong because it means we have taken an arrogant position of disapproving of God’s particular decision, as if we know better than He does, while simultaneously forgetting or ignoring the truth that He will always do what is right and just (Genesis 18:25) and also what is best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
This is why forgiveness and grace now important. If you’re angry at God, you should confess that to Him and know that He will be faithful to forgive you. (1 John 1:9) But, don’t let your anger fester. Don’t let it go unchecked. Don’t let the sun go down before you’ve dealt with it. (Ephesians 4:26)
It may be natural to be angry at someone — even at God — but it doesn’t make it acceptable.
NOTE: If you're reading this post in your e-mail inbox and would like to comment, please feel free to reply via e-mail or click on the post title above and leave a comment on my site. And be sure to follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.