An Imbalanced Spirituality

12_3_cup_of_coffee.jpgI suspect you have seen this in churches.  I suspect you have seen people who speak of God and even love God but remain emotionally immature.  These may be people who are abrupt and snap at anyone who happens to cross them.  This may be a person who is forever offending people.  This may be a person who breaks promises, doesn’t keep commitments, and is forever late causing others to have to wait on him. 

Peter Scazzero, in his book The Emotionally Healthy Church, writes concerning this.  

The sad truth is that too little difference exists, in terms of emotional and relational maturity, between God’s people inside the church and those outside who claim no relationship to Jesus Christ.  Even more alarming, when you go beyond the praise and worship of our large meetings and conventions and into the homes and small-group meetings of God’s people, you often find a valley littered by broken and failed relationships.

Does this sound familiar?  Scazzero goes on to list some possible examples of such immaturity.

The board member who never says "I was wrong" or "Sorry."

The children’s church leader who constantly criticizes others.

The high-control small-group leader who cannot tolerate different points of view.

The middle-aged father of two toddlers who is secretly addicted to pornography.

The thirty-five-year-old husband busily serving in the church, unaware of his wife’s loneliness at home.

The worship leader who interprets any suggestion as a personal attack and personal rejection.

The Sunday school teacher struggling with feelings of bitterness and resentment toward the pastor but afraid to say anything.

The exemplary "servant" who tirelessly volunteers in four different ministries but rarely takes any personal time to take care of himself or herself.

Two intercessors who use prayer meetings to escape from the painful reality of their marriage.

The people in your small group who are never transparent about their struggles or difficulties. 

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4 thoughts on “An Imbalanced Spirituality

  1. This is all too familiar with me. I work with someone several decades older than me who claims to be a Christian, attends church regularly, but who often acts very immature, gets bent out of shape easily, makes racist jokes, etc. It is very discouraging to see someone who should be setting a more mature example in their faith. It also makes me consider the kind of example that I am giving at work. There are many days when I too act immature or unChristlike. I shudder to think that people who didn’t already know that I’m a Christian may not recognize Christlike qualities in me.

  2. I’ve noticed this over the years, but when I’ve suggested it in a sermon or in a class, I’ve routinely been “corrected” for doing so! I think Barna came out with some statistical data to support this as well. Oh well.

  3. This is a sad indictment on the church. I am currently reading Scot McKnight’s “Community Called Atonement” and his thesis is that the atonement should transform. Why doesn’t it? Probably because people don’t want to die to self. We want heaven when we die, but our life now on our terms.

    It truly is sad. James