Be mature, not childish
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