Continued from here.
As I stated in my last blog entry, there’s nothing “wrong” with being spiritually immature. After all, we all start out that way. When we first become Christians, we are spiritual infants, needing spiritual milk to help us grow. We move on to spiritual baby food and then eventually to solid spiritual food. Just as we wouldn’t feed steak to a three-month-old baby, we need to “feed” spiritually immature Christians what they are ready for.
The problem is that many Christians continue eating spiritual milk and fail to grow in their faith. They only want to focus on the passages of scripture that benefit them, such as the requirement that other Christians extend them grace. However, when someone else is in need of grace, they don’t react with spiritual maturity but, instead, lash out in judgment, behaving like a spiritual toddler. I’ve seen people do this who have been Christians for decades. The passage of time does not, in itself, cause someone to mature spiritually.
I have found that I am most patient in areas where I have matured because I remember what it was like to be spiritually immature in that area. For example, when someone struggles with unforgiveness, I share my experience and gently lead them toward forgiveness, emphasizing that they have every reason to feel as they do, just as I did in my own situation. Because I remember how difficult and painful being bitter was for me, I’m extra gentle with people who are in that place.
However, when I was spiritually immature, I would instead react in judgment, heaping guilt on top of the pain that the other person was already experiencing. And let’s face it – spiritual immaturity is painful! It hurts to carry around bitterness … or to question whether you are really loved … or to fear that if you don’t take control over a situation, your life is going to implode. God once placed heavily on my heart that I was never to judge other people in their brokenness and that all sin arises out of brokenness. Thus, when I see people behaving poorly, I need to extend them grace, knowing that pain is what is driving their poor behavior. That’s tough to do, and nearly impossible to do when we are ourselves still spiritually immature.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace licking her lips while holding a fork and knife. Courtesy Bitmoji.]