Is that how scripture affects everyone, simply as being a self-help book?
In fact, character wasn't the greatest problem in my case (obviously, I have flaws). Quite the opposite, indeed. I've been a Christian since quite young and was raised in good character taught by my parents (obviously, not perfect by any means).
The greatest affect I've experience from scripture is the release from the guilt-legalism and emotionalism that is so prevalent in christianity today. For example: "Everything is a relationship." "If you can 'FEEL' Jesus, he'll speak the truth to you if you're real quiet." "Don't form too much of an opinion on things. After all, we won't really be able to understand scripture until we're dead." and my favorite (a real quote, very common as a matter of fact) "Jesus is weeping at the back of the room." (generally at one's attitude or lack of commitment). You should be able to see the problem with these statements; but if not, ask what my problem is.
After examining the scriptures for myself, allowing them to speak for themselves, and disregarding the nonsense I'd been fed for years, I found myself released from the depressing message of guilt, inadequacy, and imminent doom that almost destroyed my faith and myself altogether.
It was a release, not showing me where I'd failed, but where Christ has already succeeded. He's conquered sin, death, and all the kingdoms of the world; thusly, through God's word and not man's, I have peace.
I've rejected the teaching of the "wise" and the "enlightened" and the "correct" theology of the institutional churches for the teaching of the scriptures alone. I'm going against what almost everyone else believes because it doesn't work with scripture. That's why I feel mad, and in madness I have freedom.
So, I think you seem to have it somewhat backward, in my case.
This may seem long-winded, I guess I'm just like that...
P.S. Are you aware that Malachi 3:2-3 refers to the Day of the Lord, his Judgement Day? Interestingly, it refers to the judgement on the house of Jacob, upon those who blaspheme the Lord, and the time when God would take his possession and pass judgement on the wicked within (Malachi 1-4). You seem to use this particular verse out of context, if I understand your words correctly.