11160078 This morning I dropped my daughters off at school. When I
got to the Christian pre-school, I
parked, and began to take Olivia inside. Half-way between the car and the
classroom (about 50 yards) I heard a woman yell at me out of her car window.
She said I had parked in the wrong spot and demanded I move my car. I found it
interesting that she was yelling at me from her car parked in the same spot…but…

I had a choice to make. I told her I’d move my care in a
second because we were almost to the classroom. I thought I’d drop off my
daughter, and then move the car. This was much faster and easier than walking
back to the car, loading her in, parking elsewhere, getting out, unloading her
again and walking her to class. Besides, I couldn’t figure out for the life of
me why she thought I was parked in the wrong place anyway.

I did notice she had a car full of kids who were now running
late for school. I am married to a mother of young children. This should have
tipped me off to what was about to happen. I dropped Olivia off at class and
came back to my car—and there waiting for me was a fuming young mom.

She saw the Pepperdine license plate frame on my wife’s car…and
told me that she had gone to Pepperdine too…Pepperdine was a Christian school,
and was ashamed that I went to Pepperdine and that I called myself a Christian.
I did a lot of listening over the next 60 seconds or so. Then, she finally
huffed off, saying, “tomorrow, I expect you to park in the right spot.” All of
this in the presence of parents and kids… at least one of which I know was not
a Christian.

Not good.


I had many thoughts…not many were Christ-like.

Now that I've chilled…I'll offer a more helpful one, I hope:

Truth be told, I’ve been that mom a number of times. While I’d
like to think that I’ve never degraded someone or questioned the validity of
their Christianity in public and over a parking spot, I’ve let my temper get
the best of me over petty things plenty of times. You probably have too.

  • Have you ever been in a long line at the DMV and see
    someone behind the counter playing Solitaire instead of helping someone?
  • Ever been in a hurry and had the person in front
    of you in the left-hand turn lane not turn because they were texting until the
    very last second…so they go, and you get stuck through another round of lights?

In truth, many of us are (at least I am) far too liberal
with our tempers over the petty, and far too stingy with grace in the same
petty matters.  If she had stuck around
for my response, she probably would have received an overdose of Tim the Icy Sarcastic
(“Hmmm.. I guess I missed all those New
Testament passages on parking.”
), or worse…Tim the Condescending Rationalist. Tim
the raging, violent yeller doesn’t really exist. But, this doesn’t mean that Tim
can’t fire verbal bullets with the best of them…or write a blog post about you 🙂

Paul wrote, “But the
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And
those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and
(Galatians 5:22-24).

After talking with Emily, it turns out…I was unknowingly parked in a drop-off zone. I have repented and sought forgiveness with sackcloth, ashes, and have mourned my sin by scraping my boils with potsherds.

So, if you are out there…my fellow alum, my sister in Christ…peace to you. May we bring pride to our great alma mater, and glory to Jesus…tomorrow…better than we did today.

Question of the day: who do you turn into when your temper
gets going?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

4 thoughts on “Temper

  1. I usually do better when people are mean to me than when they are mean to my husband or kids. Once in a parking lot(BEFORE I became a Christian), someone flipped Steve off and I rolled down that window and I was literally from the waist up out that window screaming at the offenders. I am happy to report I stopped that behavior quite awhile ago, still before I became a Christian, but not because I was becoming a better person, but because I was afraid that someday I would scream at the wrong person and end up dead 😉 Now, like Matt I try (key word being TRY) to exemplify a Christlike attitude and reaction. I try…

  2. Awesome thoughts…In my job I deal with rude and demanding people on the phone all day, and I used to let it get to me all the time. I have learned to handle it better, although I still get bothered when some guy who wants a better rate at a hotel screams at me and tells me I’m an idiot. I also think about what non Christians would think in my office if I reacted unChristian like on the phone. It would totally kill my witness. I’ve come to find that if I just place that call on hold, take a deep breath, and say a prayer it really helps. Thanks for the blog. It was really helpful.

  3. Oh Timmy!! I can JUST picture you right there. OH man, I’m glad I was not there. 🙂 But good for you for all this thinking you have done and it sounds like you have all the info to park “better” next time. Wow, what a scene.
    My temper takes me to a place where I sound like I’m the most important person in the world and would everyone else PLEASE get out of the way!! Not a pretty sight—usually seen by my kiddos.