Be ma­ture, not child­ish

Grocott's Mail - - OPINION AND ADVICE -

The fa­mous es­say by Paul about love in 1 Corinthi­ans 13 draws to a close with, among other thoughts, the fol­low­ing state­ment, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I rea­soned like a child.

“When I be­came a man, I put child­ish ways be­hind me.” His ar­gu­ment is clear: it is child­ish to have spir­i­tual pride of any sort, be self-cen­tred, venge­ful or self­ish. On the con­trary, the ma­ture way is to al­ways have love, pa­tience, joy over truth, for­give­ness, per­se­ver­ance.

In the next chap­ter he con­tin­ues to to teach on the wis­dom of speak­ing ed­i­fy­ing words in the con­gre­ga­tion (prophecy), rather than pur­su­ing spir­i­tual man­i­fes­ta­tions (e g speak­ing in tongues) that might be up­lift­ing per­son­ally, but un­in­tel­li­gi­ble and use­less to the rest of the gath­er­ing or to strangers com­ing to join in.

He con­cludes in 14:20 “Broth­ers, stop think­ing like chil­dren. In re­gard to evil be in­fants, but in your think­ing be adults.” We are con­stantly called to put child­ish at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iour be­hind us, and sen­si­bly en­deav­our to seek the greater good of our com­mu­ni­ties and cir­cles of work or so­cial and po­lit­i­cal life.

Whether we are in se­ri­ous meet­ings or in ev­ery­day in­ter­ac­tions, it is the ma­ture thing to fol­low these guide­lines. “And now these three re­main: faith, hope and love. But the great­est of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13) • Strauss de Jager, NG Kerk

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