“Thar’ she blows,” a friend quipped of his late wife.
A sweet soul and my dear friend, she apparently hid a temper under her skin, not easily aroused but impressive to its recipients. He spoke of it with a twinkle in his eye, love in his laugh, and loss deep in his heart. Her spunky personality had drawn him to her. A blast from the past had become an enduring memory.
My blasts are not quite past, and the tapes of temper are not reels I enjoy playing.
Recently in the struggle of a mundane situation, I responded in anger rather than grace, and the knowledge of such an undignified boiler eruption shamed me. Its reminder of my sin-filled reaction drew me deep into a shadowy-blue-hazy-funk where I flailed under the surface. My mind’s play back condemned me by its demonstrative lack of self-control. Or shall we be honest and say, my lack of Spirit-control. I felt such deep sorrow at the memory, I could hardly move on. I struggled for days to get my feet on solid ground.
I may be hanging out here all alone, but perhaps, there are others with hidden soul sink-holes that pop out at times like perforated ulcers. Raw. Painful. Exposed.
Confession, repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus for my sins meet and tangle in actual living.
When the weight of my sin crushes me, trust in Jesus’ finished work raises me. Faith and repentance grow at the juncture of Jesus’ mercy and grace. Sin’s humiliation is cancelled at the foot of the cross. It never is nor was cheap grace, but rather Jesus’ costly redemption which brings freedom from my chains of sin. And this knowledge, this realization of how much He paid and how deep is my need brings me to my knees.
In my confessing, I wallowed. I still felt dingy. Discouragement and defeat walked like lead in my shoes. The issue was not forgiving myself, rather it pivoted on something much deeper. Did I truly believe in the complete work of Christ on the Cross? Did He pay for yesterday and today?
In the aftermath, in an agonizing recognition and repentance, a familiar verse from John came to my mind, sat there and repeated itself.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn. 1:9 NKJV
Like so many things in life, when I lifted my focus off myself, when my eyes looked away from me and up to the Father, God’s word spoke to my heart and flowed into the chinks of my soul.
“He is faithful.”
“He is just.”
“He cleanses from all unrighteousness.”
Oh how thirsty I found myself for that complete cleansing, “from all unrighteousness,” yet how difficult I found submitting the anger that defined my day to His unmerited grace.
What are you struggling with today? Toddlers’ demands, health decline, another’s choices or financial instability? Is there anger, fear, or worry cycling in and out, pulling you down and disrupting your walk with Christ?
David wrote about the freedom he found in the God’s laws. Rather than feeling restricted or bound by rules, God’s decrees brought refreshment to his soul (Ps. 19:7), wisdom, joy and light. These are the benefits of flowing God’s truth like rivers into our minds and thoughts.
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.” Ps. 19:12-13 NIV
I found again God’s Word to be faithful in bringing my mind first and emotions second to full trust in the work of Jesus. Undeserved grace awaited.
The same temper issue which has brought me to repentance, to turning away from anger a million times, still can flatten me with its grip. I still fail. With the guilt and shame of those reels in my vision, which then dug up more history, I repeated throughout the day John’s words.
God is faithful.
God is Just.
He cleanses from all unrighteousness.
His death on the cross cancelled the recordings I hold in my library ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.
What is hiding under your skin?
As surely as God’s word brings to sin to light, His word establishes the truth of God’s cleansing from sin. He met my condemnation, deserved and inherited, once and for all. He is faithful and just to continue today.