Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. – Romans 12:2 (MSG)
Oh, if only this were true. I would like to think that God is always bringing out the best in people, but sometimes it seems like people act their very worst around God.
Someone who, on any other topic, would be open-minded becomes judgmental on the topic of God. It’s always the true believer who says that everyone else is wrong.
True believers on the God topic scare me, whether they are arguing for or against. Sometimes when atheists and Christians debate, I want both teams to be disqualified. If I were God, I wouldn’t want any of them arguing on my behalf or even in my ballpark.
But then I remember all the quiet people. They are all over God’s house and all over the world. They quietly live the God-life without drawing attention to themselves. They listen more than they lecture. They give more examples and fewer instructions.
They have that God-given maturity that makes them comfortable enough to sit back when the immature people are taking up all the space. They are the ones who will stay around to pick up the pieces. In God’s house, and out in the world, they’re the ones who set up the chairs and then put them away afterwards. (Perhaps, in their own immature pasts, they threw a few pieces themselves.)
We don’t just land in the world, already mature but in a diaper. Everybody has to come from somewhere.
Maybe the way to maturity is through immaturity. Maybe both conditions are gifts from God, who thought the journey would be good for us.
God, today I promise you … wait, make that, I pinky-promise you … that I will clean my whole room, use my best manners, and think about other people all day long, without once having one single solitary tantrum ever. Amen. And I’m serious!
Lillian Daniel is a preacher, teacher and writer in Iowa who aspires to be a shepherdess on the green.