Even with the joy that family and relationships bring, temper, impulsiveness, or a tendency to react may result in unkind words and hurt feelings. Instead of just tolerating habitual temperament problems, we can pray for courage to overcome them.
Unlovely character traits can require mighty mental and spiritual wrestling if transformation is desired. Often people will protest, saying, "I can't help it. It's just the way I am, and there's nothing I can do about it. I've always been this way." Prayer puts aside all these excuses. It enables us to sincerely turn to God and prove that we can eliminate any behavioral problem that hides the spiritual nature that has been given to us by our Creator. All of us – family members, neighbors, and co-workers – have this spiritual heritage.
Through prayer, we can discover more of the spiritual individuality that God has given us. Created in His image and likeness, we are always one with God, never separated from Him, always under His loving control. This spiritual inheritance isn't subject to ancestry, genes, or any past experiences. Rather, it is subject to God's law, the law of harmony, peace, and good.
Sincerely asking God to reveal our true spiritual nature begins to silence the mortal, or carnal mind, which is opposed to God. It constantly asserts that our identity is defined by material thoughts, opinions, and experiences – good, bad, or indifferent. Our spiritual identity transcends human fear, desire, and determination, and for this reason, we can gain a mastery over anything that pulls us away from God.
Self-control often implies restraining or suppressing our own undisciplined actions, bottling them up instead of gaining our freedom from them. What's needed if we are to avoid this and leave negative behavior behind is the willingness to turn away from a false material selfhood with all its excuses, defenses, and self-indulgence, and turn toward our spiritual nature.
Comprised of God-given qualities – intelligence, mercy, and strength – our spiritual nature isn't subject to the rules of material living. Rather, as we embrace these qualities, the old behaviors drop away. We become more and more confident that the good we desire can't be taken away, can't be hidden or overtaken by envy, revenge, or self-righteousness.
The Bible speaks of putting off "the old man" – the material sense of identity that clings to temperamental traits. None of these false attributes come from God, as the J. B. Phillips translation of a passage from one of Paul's letters brings out: "You have learned nothing like that from Christ, if you have really heard his voice and understood the truth that Jesus has taught you. No, what you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust's illusions, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God's design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion" (Eph. 4:20–24). This is humanity's God-governed, God-controlled being, always gracious in motive, thought, word, and deed.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, was a faithful follower of Christ Jesus, whose mission was to show us that the kingdom of heaven is within us and that we are free to live under its government of harmony and peace. Mrs. Eddy wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which shows how to live in obedience to our Creator and experience this harmony on a daily basis. In another one of her books, she wrote, "He who gains self-knowledge, self-control, and the kingdom of heaven within himself, within his own consciousness, is saved through Christ, Truth" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 161).
Our spiritual identity includes the God-bestowed tendency toward good, and these spiritual gravitations are controlled by Love right now. So it's never too hard, we're never too old, and it's never too late for God, for Love, to correct and eliminate the frictions and discords of dispositional problems and restore unity and peace.