Most of us at some time or other have to cope with the question of temperament, our own or other people's. Unpleasant characteristics cause much unhappiness. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with and healed.
How can we go about tackling it? A deeper understanding of God and our relationship to Him clarifies the facts about man - and herein lies the solution. Through Bible study and through sincere and humble prayer, we can discover what is really true about our nature; and to the degree that we conform to this truth, undesirable traits recede and disappear.
Study of the Bible reveals the vital fact that man is actually the child of God, made in His image, expressing His nature and qualities. As God's image, man can only inherit good and express good. Each individual is unique, and each individual expresses God's qualities in an original way that can never conflict or clash. In the divine order of God's creation there is place for each individual to express his unlimited potential. Working from this basis, it becomes easier to face up to and deal with problems relating to personality and human nature.
Undesirable traits, even if they seem harmless enough at first, can become a burden if they are not seen as a travesty of the man God created, and then healed. For instance, the so-called ''artistic temperament'' is often thought to be a natural constituent of a creative individual. Yet disorder, quick temper, unpredictable behavior, are not natural to man, and they make things difficult for others as well as marring one's own life. This is totally unnecessary. As God's expression each one is both creative and loving, and a clear understanding of this truth can lead to healing.
We have God-given ability to control our temperament. These lines from a hymn have often proved helpful to me and have cleared the way for a better understanding of man's nature: Thy kingdom, God, within us Shows forth Love's sweet control. God's idea, man, rejoices; He knows the reign of Soul. n1
n1 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 221.
And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense, and we shall perceive Christianity, or Truth, in its divine Principle.'' n2
n2 Science and Health, p. 322.
The Bible cites many occasions when the subduing of negative characteristics and the expression of God-derived qualities led to healing. Naaman had to deal with pride, and when this was replaced with humility and obedience, he was healed of leprosy. David had his inner battles as well as battles with Israel's enemies, and he triumphed through prayer and trust in God. Our Master, Christ Jesus, rebuked the adverse characteristics of his disciples so that their lives would better represent the Christ-power and would attest to his holy mission.
One of the most dramatic instances of a nature transformed is the conversion of Paul. As his letter to the Romans shows, he well understood the bitter struggle to control human nature, specifically the belief that man is made up of both good and evil. His eloquent description can be read in chapters 6, 7, and 8 of the book of Romans, and he presents the remedy in these words: ''For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.'' n3
n3 Romans 8:14-17.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 1 Timothy 4:8, 9