Second, such patience toward, and forgiveness of, others grows in the soil of a peace that rules in our hearts in Christ (Col. 3:15). Peace rules. As the Prince of Peace takes up residence in us, He extends His reign over unrighteous anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk. Increasingly, such vices are banished from His kingdom of peace and replaced with “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).
Third, this rule of peace doesn’t just happen but is planted and fed and flourishes by Christ’s own power, coming into our souls tangibly, through our ears, by His Word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). A gospel-rich, Scripture-formed soul breeds the reign of peace that fosters patience and its accompanying graces that force out unrighteous anger—and prompt righteous anger to move along quickly once it has done its work.
Having put away anger, then, confirm, with a cool head, what anger-less action, if any, to take. It might be to forbear this time and see if other instances follow. Or it may mean that now is the time for some modest act. This is a critical step in righteous anger’s not quickly becoming unrighteous. Sadly, few sinners, even Christians, seem able to do this consistently—to take some humble step, because anger inspired it, but to do so without anger.
Finally, act with calmness and patience—without anger. In doing so, not only do we heed Paul’s charge to put anger away in particular moments, but one battle at a time, we become the kind of people, in Christ, who have put away anger in our lives as a whole. We are less prone to unrighteous anger and strangely more prone, we could say, to righteous anger, though slowly and infrequently, and ready to put it away, after its limited, helpful flare.
As Christians, both in the moment and over time, we put away anger as those imitating, and benefiting from, the one man whose anger was never unrighteous, and who never held too long onto any righteous flare.