AS a mother of a large family I was aware of losing my temper occasionally. It wasn't often; nevertheless, I was unhappy about it whenever it occurred, and so I sincerely prayed for constant control. I began to realize that I lost my temper because of fear--fear that what a child had done, was doing, or anticipating doing would harm him or others. Then one of the older children remarked: ``You never lose your temper when we spill milk all over the table or damage our clothing or furniture. When one of us broke some crystal worth hundreds of dollars you didn't even raise your voice! You get angry when you are afraid that we will be hurt or hurt someone else.''
While the observation was correct, it still didn't justify my ``losing my cool,'' to use the children's terminology. Tired of the guilt and remorse, I resolved to do some vigorous praying the next time I felt fear. I realized the fear was based on a heavy sense of parental responsibilities and my personal aspirations for the children's future. Prayer impelled me to gain a higher and purer sense of love--to cultivate a more effective way to be a caring parent.
The Bible declares: ``There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.''1 This Scriptural promise had new meaning for me. If God is Love and the only creator, how could there be something to fear? Man, the manifestation of God's nature, surely cannot fear. As God's likeness, he can only reflect what God knows--peace and joy in beholding all that He has made as very good. If I was to be obedient to the Biblical command reiterated by Christ Jesus--the command to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength2 --then I must honor what He has done, is doing, and ever will be doing. I must refuse to accept what would deny His good, His caring, His power. Rejecting the suggestions of evil instead of fearing them--that indeed would be loving God, and my neighbor as myself.
It's important that we consecrate ourselves to an expectancy of the good that is always proceeding from our Father-Mother, God. This is not to ignore evil but to nullify fear--an expectancy of evil. Knowing God to be in control, we gain control over fear and temper.
In a paragraph bearing the marginal heading ``Practical religion'' are these words by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Dost thou `love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind'? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship. This is the El Dorado of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, and recognizes only the divine control of Spirit, in which Soul is our master, and material sense and human will have no place.''3
As I endeavored to recognize only the divine control of Spirit--to know only what God knows and love what He loves --the temper experiences vanished. And I made a precious discovery: when we strive for these victories over the animal, or material, in our family experience, we find ourselves doing it on the community level and in our whole view of things in relation to national and international events.
Instead of accepting--without pro test--impatience, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, despair, we should reject them vigorously. We find joy in replacing our fear with love. Loving God and loving the qualities in man that express God, we will increasingly reflect God's perfect loving and find our gratitude growing for the manner and magnitude of His love.
1I John 4:18. 2See Mark 12:30. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 9. DAILY BIBLE VERSE God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7