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Showing posts with label character. Show all posts
Showing posts with label character. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Attributes of Person: Character, Personality, and Temperament


“Why is it that I can’t control myself? I know what’s right and wrong. I just don’t seem to be able to do what’s right!” This frustrated plea came from a fine businessman who had come for counselling. It wasn’t the first time I had heard that plaint in one form or another; in fact, it is a very common experience.
At the moment of conception we all inherited a basic genetic temperament that contains both our strength and weaknesses. This temperament is called several things in the Bible: “Natural man,” “the flesh,” “the old man,” and “corruptible flesh,” to name a few. It is the basic impulse of our being that seek to satisfy our wants. To properly understand the temperament’s control of our actions and reactions, we should define three terms and carefully distinguish them: temperament, character, and personality.
Temperament
Temperament is the combination of inborn traits that subconsciously affects all our behaviour. These traits, which are passed on by our genes, are based on hereditary factors and arranged at the time of conception. Six people contribute through the gene pool to makeup of every baby: two parents and four grandparents. Some authorities suggest that we get more genes from our grandparents than our parents. The alignment of temperament traits, though unseen, is just as predictable as the color of eyes, hair, or size of body.
It is a person’s temperament that makes that person outgoing and extrovertish or shy and introvertish. Doubtless you know kinds of people who are siblings-born to the same parents. Similarly, it is temperament that make some people art or music enthusiast, while others are sports or industry minded.
Character
Character is the real you. The Bible refers to it as “the hidden person of the heart” (I Peter 3:4). It is the result of your natural temperament modified by childhood training, education, and basic attitudes, beliefs, principles, and motivations. It sometimes referred to as “the soul” of a person, which is made up of the mind, emotions, and will.
Character combines your temperament, training, moral values, beliefs, and habit patterns. It is the net result of all the influences and religious commitment on your life.
Personality
Personality is the outward expression of oneself, which may or may not be the same as a person’s character, depending on how genuine that person is.
Often personality is a pleasing fa├žade for an unpleasant or weak character. Many are acting a part today on the basis of what they think they should be as a person, rather what they really are. This is a formula for mental and spiritual chaos. It is caused by following the human formula for acceptable conduct. The Bible tells us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”(1 Sam. 16:7)

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