“Maturity is getting along, even when you don’t want to.” So went a quote (or at least pretty close to a quote) from the sermon yesterday. It sounds rather trite, unless it’s repeated with a little feeling and meaning. And if one thinks about it just a bit, it becomes even more valuable regarding how we think about maturity, getting along, life-living, patience, and yes even endurance.
I don’t tell you this quote because I’m so good at getting along, even when I don’t want to. I’m well aware of my shortcomings in this area, and believe me there are many. I am trying, though imperfectly and inconsistently, to develop a greater maturity in my relationships with others. Three areas come before me very readily as I think of my needs regarding developing greater maturity.
First are my relationships with other drivers in traffic. Yes, the above statement applies even to that. Maturity is getting along…in traffic…even when you don’t want to. It is not racing someone in the lane beside you for the lead spot on the road. It is driving defensively and assuming that the guy who pulled out in front of you had something on his mind and didn’t see you. It is allowing others on their way and not holding up the traffic line by driving two miles an hour under the speed limit…just because you can and think that everyone else “needs to slow down.”
Second are my relationships with people who disagree with me politically. Maturity is getting along…in political discourse…even when you don’t want to. I am finding out (it’s still a learning process for me) that most people really don’t want to know what I think unless they ask me. I can really step on some toes with this one because many folks are a lot more sensitive to their political leanings and criticism thereof than I would think would be reasonable; however, I am not the one to judge what is and is not reasonable.
Third are my relationships with people who disagree with me religiously. Maturity is getting along…in religious arenas…even when you don’t want to. I am coming to the conclusion that no one has it right. Honest, God-fearing, God-seeking men and women disagree about all kinds of things regarding things spiritual. We all need the grace of God…and it doesn’t matter if I may think some need it more than others…we all are under the death sentence save for the grace of a loving and just God. When it comes time for us to justify ourselves, the best any of us can do is, as the song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy cross I cling. Naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace. Vile, I to the fountain fly; wash me savior, or I die.”
I don’t know what areas you need to work on, with the help of God, to become more mature in life and living. I know there are areas you need to take a serious look at. They may be similar to mine; they may be quite different. In the verse that follows, I know the context is spiritual gifts; however, the principle holds, I believe, for life and living. Paul says, “My friends, stop thinking like children. Think like mature people and be as innocent as tiny babies.” (I Cor. 14:20) We do well to heed that command.