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Dealing with anger

It seems as if everyone is angry these days. Whether it is those who are rioting in the streets or those seething quietly on the sidelines, anger is in the air. There is an old proverb that warns about the consequences of anger by reminding us that what is begun in anger will end in shame.

Anger has a way of appearing in many forms. I believe there are times when people should be angry over injustices they witness. It’s been referred to as “righteous indignation.” Some areas in society today that cause me righteous indignation are abortion and human trafficking. In the 1800s, so many Americans were so angered over slavery that they were willing to fight a war that killed more than a half-million Americans to end the evil practice.

In the Bible in Ephesians 4:31, God lists six different manifestations of anger people should seek to avoid. He said that people should get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Let’s take a look at those six concerns.


Bitterness has been called hidden anger. It is an internal anger that will consume a person who can’t let go of an injustice they have suffered in the past.

Chuck Swindoll said of the consequence of bitterness that there is no torment like the inner torment of an unforgiving spirit. It refuses to be soothed. It refuses to be healed; it refuses to forget.


Whereas bitterness is hidden anger, rage is a loud explosive outburst of anger. It is triggered by an out-of-control temper.

Publicius Syrus spoke of the damage done by rage when he said, “An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.”

Rage will destroy marriages and leave long-lasting scars.

Will Rogers rightly said of rage, “People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.”


Anger involves internal seething. It is often a way of life that appears socially acceptable, but deep inside a person is like a silent volcano, waiting for the opportunity to erupt.

C.E. Macartney warned, “Anger weakens a man.”

It puts him at a disadvantage in every undertaking in life.


Brawling is a type of anger that manifests itself with loud verbal outbursts and fighting. It’s seen in the person that feels compelled to constantly demand what they think they are owed. Some Bible translations express this as clamoring. It’s the person that can’t bite their tongue when they should.


Slander is anger directed at other people. It is also referred to as blasphemy or evil speaking. It comes from an angry heart and takes delight in sharing bad news or gossip about another person. It’s telling untruths about another person with the intent of harming their reputation.


Malice is the motive behind all of the above actions. It is the hallmark of an individual that can’t be trusted, someone who does things with a selfish motive.

The philosopher Plutarch said regarding the disciples of Pythagoras, “Before the sun set, they should shake hands and kiss each other and be reconciled.” The Bible said something similar, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

For those struggling with bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander or malice, they should not let the sun go down tonight until they have sought victory over their anger.

Rick Koole

LifePointe Church


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