Hidden Temper, Undeserved Grace

“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 forgives.” 

“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 forgives. 

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.  


*feature Photo by Julien L on Unsplash

33 Replies

  1. Don Pahl Reply

    How I wish you were only writing about Sylvia, Sylvia! But your words resonate in all our hearts! Thank you!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Well I for one am very selfishly glad I’m not only writing about Sylvia!! Thanks Don!

  2. J.D. Wininger Reply

    I can so relate to this post Ms. Sylvia. Especially when it comes to my very own family. Why is it that we seem to hold them to a higher standard than we do strangers? I find my temper, anger, and self-control wane more with them than any others, and that only worsens the feelings of failure and inadequacy when we “explode.” I of course apologize, and hope that the love and care I provide far outweighs those momentary outbursts, but I know they hurt, because they hurt me. I remind myself often when that happens that if God has extended grace to me for so much worse, then I should extend a little to myself and even more to those I love and care for. Such a great reminder this morning my friend.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you J.D. What you said is so true. The people I treasure most are the ones I find easiest to hurt, and I do not want that at all. I am so grateful for Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness.

  3. Sharon Reply

    Thank you Sylvia. I especially like the line, “His death on the cross cancelled the recordings I hold in my library ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.”
    For me it’s the senarios in my head that need to be cancelled by Christ’s death on the cross!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Yes, those are there for me too. The “senarios” are brutal. I’m so grateful for Jesus’ forgiveness.

  4. MARK Reply

    But, “GOD,” did everything! I can do nothing without “CHRIST” doing everything!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Mark! So great to hear from you. Yes, without Christ I can do nothing. You’d think I’d learn…

  5. Ron Gallagher Reply

    There are few ways to recognize and to declare the truth of God’s promises than to acknowledge them at work in our own lives. Sin is such a personal thing, and often carries such a sense of condemnation that we often recoil from admitting them to ourselves, much less telling others. Thanks for exhibiting the courage to share your struggle with us–we relate. I especially love the pertinent and much needed question, “Did He pay for yesterday and today?” God bless you for bringing us face to face with our own sin issues, and for highlighting the way out.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      And bless you for this encouragement. How I would like to be past some of those same sins that crop up. But, I’m so grateful for the patience and faithfulness of Christ. I really appreciate your comments!

  6. Jeanie Reply

    Whoa! Evidently many of us were hit hard by this! I think it is my pride that doesn’t let me immediately dwell on God who is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse. So then I need to confess the sin of pride! Like, how could I, a mature Believer, do such a thing? Oh my! Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Yes, Jeanie, I relate. The absolute shame of how could I, a mature believer, do such a thing? Yup. Pride. Thanks for reading and I do appreciate hearing I’m not alone!

  7. Alix Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Sylvia. It certainly spoke to my heart. It’s all about fixing our eyes on Jesus, isn’t it… when I look at myself, I either have too high of an opinion of myself or I’m ashamed by what I see, but either way it’s pride. And I dig myself deep into a hole. Remembering who Jesus is and what He did for me does indeed as you say raise me!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Alix for reading and responding! Either way its pride. I think that says it so well. How I wish my eyes never strayed! Again I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! So good to hear from you!

  8. Cherie Reply

    Timely message. Thanks for sharing the word.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Cherie. I appreciate your encouragement. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. Diana P Hill Reply

    I’m bookmarking this! So helpful. So true.

  10. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I can certainly identify with your anguish concerning an unchecked temper and tongue. I’ve been there, too, and felt the bitter pain of the aftermath, as well as the fear of unforgiveness. 1 John 1:9 has been one of my go to scriptures, too. Thank you for sharing so transparently, so that we who have been with you know we are not alone and that there is assurance of our Savior’s forgiveness.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Katherine for your encouraging words. I gotta admit, I’ve never really thought that deeply before about 1 John 1:9, even though it’s such a familiar verse. I am so thankful the Lord reminded me of it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  11. Gregory Nyman Reply

    Thank you Sylvia….I can relate so well, especially when a bout of hidden temper rears its ugly head and I am again aghast at this sinful tendency when some things don’t go well…but God is merciful and gracious and He forgives as you write….thanks again…God bless you….

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I suppose I shouldn’t be glad you relate well…but I am thankful I’m not alone. I appreciate the encouragement and second the gratefulness for God’s mercy and forgiveness. What a faithful God we serve! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. Annie Yorty Reply

    The spotlight of God’s truth roots out the darkness, but boy, can it make me squirm. Thank you. Sylvia, for this hope-filled post.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Annie! I can relate to that squirm! I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.

  13. Debbie Wilson Reply

    Sylvia, we’ve all been there. At least I have. So thankful for Grace.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Debbie, Glad I’m not alone, and yes. So thankful for Grace. Thanks Debbie. I appreciate your comment!