Social Maturity vs. Spiritual Maturity
I am shocked by how many adults live like they are still sitting around the cafeteria table in middle school–being extremely nice to someone when they are present, but spreading gossip and bad-mouthing them as soon as they aren’t there. I am constantly amazed that people feel the need to point out the negative in every situation and refuse to agree with any decision. I can’t get over how many grown men and women just can’t get along with others. Surely a reasonable person has realized by the time he is out of high school that everyone sees right through that type of behavior, right?
A while back, I had to deal with such a person and was talking to a close friend about how to handle the situation. He asked this question: “Are they a spiritually-minded person?” In that particular case I had no idea, but it got me thinking…Is it possible to be spiritually mature without being socially mature? Is it possible to be right with God and be known as a trouble-maker, dissenter, gossip, or hothead? I’m pretty sure it isn’t.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
-Galatians 5:22-23, ESV
Almost every single one in that list deals directly with how we treat other people. A loving person won’t gossip. A joyful person won’t dwell on the negative. A peaceful person doesn’t cause strife within her circle of influence. A patient person takes whatever injustices are sent his way without complaint. A kind person doesn’t take opportunities to be hurtful. A faithful person doesn’t form grudges against her friends. A gentle person doesn’t speak harshly to others. A self-controlled person doesn’t let his anger get out of hand.
Social maturity does not necessarily indicate spiritual maturity, but social immaturity certainly indicates spiritual immaturity. This may be the greatest gauge of spiritual condition that we have.