- He is the most difficult elder in the group. Time after time, the other elders have attempted to appease their fellow elder. Yet, no matter what they do, he remains unhappy and demands other concessions.
- She is the drama queen in the family. She has two other sisters and a brother but at family gatherings she clearly dominates the conversations. She drains energy from others as she talks on and on about herself and her situation.
- He is immature and married. A few years ago, his wife told a friend that she felt like she had four children – her husband, their two daughters, and their son. She loves her husband but often feels as if she is the only adult in the family.
- She is known as a possessive friend. She regularly loses friendships because she demands so much from them. Yet, in her mind, all of these former friends lacked commitment to the relationship.
- This preacher has recently clashed with the elders of his congregation. He says they need to love the community and allow him to try out his ideas. The elders believe this isn’t really the issue. Rather they are troubled by his behind the scenes manipulation. They have lost some of their trust in him.
The least mature have a way of holding others hostage. Their behavior can cause others to be fearful and and anxious. The least mature can wear others out until they are ready to surrender. Some may not want to face the wrath of the least mature and so they attempt to placate that person. Spouses, children, churches, and others within a group might compromise and regularly defer in order to appease the immature.
One elder expressed it this way regarding his work with a difficult elder, “You don’t know what we, as elders, go through if we stand up against John’s desires. I thought if we gave in to John’s wishes regarding this program, he would back off and finally be happy. However, he seems to be even more emboldened as he makes even more demands.”
There is no compromise that will satisfy the immature. One can not reason the immature into maturity.
The individual or group who continues to allow the least mature to steer the relationship will ultimately lose something far more important than energy. Allowed to go unchecked, the least mature can destroy a business, a group of elders, a marriage, and an entire congregation.