Think of some immature actions you’ve seen lately on the part of men… The last Texas Tech basketball game comes to mind when a West Virginia player decided to take out his frustration at a one-sided loss by tripping a Tech player. In some cases, this behavior is simply a product of the moment. I don’t know anything more about this young man and hopefully this action is not repeated in his life. Other players do have reputations where they continue to lash out in childish ways (e.g. Grayson Allen or Draymond Green).
Where does this and other immature behavior come from in men?
In most, it’s the product of what we learn in our childhoods. Now certainly, all children are immature- even good children are immature, but there are different versions of immaturity. The book I referenced in the last devotion, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” talks about this. For example, all children start with an understanding of the world revolving around them and are learning to use what’s in their power to control others, but for some, this starts to become leadership. In others, however, this becomes “high chair tyrants”. Think of aggressive children who make big demands and throw fits. On the other side of the spectrum, there are some who seem passive but are actually quite manipulative. Think of the child who sulks until they get what they want (he calls them Weakling Princes).
If these behaviors are met with mature parenting, most kids will learn what is and isn’t acceptable and will start to lead rather than manipulate or bully, but some of this behavior can continue and gets transferred into adult life. The body is that of an adult, but the actions and moral compass are that of an immature child. We see it in all walks of life- in our politicians (what a shock), in our bosses, in our dads, and yes, even in our church leaders.
The reality is none of us completely leaves this behind. Every one of us falls into sinful behavior which draws on immature behaviors we learned can work from our childhood. The key is for us to recognize this (or listen when someone confronts us with it) and repent. Paul puts it this way in 1 Cor. 13:11:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Hope Lutheran Church & School