I am glad you are exercised about this, for Scripture is crystal-clear that anger and bitterness have no place in the lives of believers in Christ. Ephesians 4:31 declares, “Let all BITTERNESS, wrath, ANGER, clamor, and evil speaking BE PUT AWAY FROM YOU, with all malice” (NKJV). The word “bitterness” speaks of being “unwilling to forgive someone” and then “having resentment toward them.” Anger goes a step further, for it means “hostility” which is often seen in outward displays of “wrath” (i.e. outbursts of anger).  The next verse gives us one of the greatest motives for getting rid of anger and bitterness. It reads, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” We should be more than willing to FORGIVE those who have wronged us since “God in Christ forgave us.” If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we had sinned against God much more than we have been sinned against by others. Yet God forgave ALL OF OUR SINS because of Christ’s work on the cross for us. 1st John 2:12 speaks to this: “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” So, if God forgave the innumerable sins we committed against Him, we should be more than willing to forgive those who have, by comparison, sinned very little against us. (I would encourage you to read Matthew 18:21-35 which illustrates the need of forgiving those who have wronged you.) When we do forgive someone the anger and bitterness will fade quickly like the summer dew with the rising sun.

 Now let’s turn to Galatians chapter 5 to see another way we can get rid of anger and bitterness. In verse 19 we read, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident.” The apostle Paul then lists 15 examples of those deeds that emanate from the FLESH, which is our fallen, sinful nature. Among them we see “outbursts of anger.” Again, anger is often the result of bitterness, for when we “hold a grudge” against someone it’s only a matter of time before it will be manifested in an outward display of anger. This clearly comes from the old nature that still abides in us. But in verses 22-23 we have a beautiful list of moral traits that are called “the fruit of the Spirit.” They are in direct contrast to “the deeds of the flesh” and thus in place of “outbursts of anger” we read of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” One has said that this “cluster of fruit” is in reality a “portrait of Christ,” for all these moral attributes were manifested in Christ throughout His whole life, from the manger to the cross. Now His life abides in us (see Galatians 2:20; Colossian 1:27 and 1st John 5:11-13) and by the power of the Holy Spirit (Who also abides in us…see John 7:37-39 and 14:16-17) we can manifest those same moral qualities. In order to do so, we must obey verse 16 which says, “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” This means we must “walk in the power of the Spirit by allowing Him to control us.” This will take an act of our will where we consciously yield our lives to the indwelling Spirit. When we do yield to the Holy Spirit, the “deeds of the flesh” will be kept at bay and the “fruit of the Spirit” will be manifested in everything we do. Anger and bitterness will disappear, being replaced by “love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.”  (376.3)  (DO)