They are good people. They may be pleasant and intelligent people. Very often, they are Christian people. Yet, some of these same people never seem to grow up emotionally. There are some people who have developed their thinking processes quite well. There are some who have the capacity to grasp intellectual complexities and make sense of them.
Yet, there are people who have just never been able to progress or move ahead in terms of allowing the Gospel to make a difference in the way they handle their emotions.
Recently, I read an interesting book entitled Church on the Couch: Does the Church Need Therapy? The author, Elaine Martens Hamilton (a therapist), speaks of what she sees in and hears from some Christian people who are not experiencing real internal change.
As a result marriages are falling apart at the same rate as for people who don’t attend church. Too many of our kids are angry and disconnected from their families. In growing numbers we are addicted to food, pornography, television and money. We’ve got to be honest with ourselves: an intellectual understanding of faith does not equal spiritual maturity. (p. 28)
Consider some of these situations, which may be all too familiar:
- A seventy-year-old man who has been a Christian much of his life. He is combative and argumentative when he is displeased and does not get his way.
- A thirty-year-old woman who regularly gets into "drama" with others at work. She has a long history of being a very difficult person to deal with.
- A young man in his late twenties who has the emotional maturity of a fifteen-year-old. His wife feels as if she must be wife and mother to him as well as managing the household. His irresponsible spending has put their family in financial jeopardy.
Several years ago, I read a book entitled The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter and Geri Scazzero. In telling the story of their own faith journey, the authors observe that:
Despite all the emphasis today on spiritual formation, church leaders rarely address what spiritual maturity looks like as it relates to emotional health, especially as it relates to how we love other people. (pp. 18-19)
What has been your own observation regarding the emotional maturity (or lack of) of Christ-followers? How does this relate to spiritual transformation?
It is still not too late to enter your name for the book giveaway. Put your name in a comment to the post you will find here. Drawing to be held Tuesday, April 7, 2009.