The Plague of Adult Immaturity

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Cor 13:11

I read an article the other day in the Wall Street Journal in which the author looks at some of the crazier things occurring in our society today and blames it on the rampant immaturity of adults – particularly adults in positions of power.  The most obvious example is the object of the “me-too” movement, where many people are speaking up about sexual harassment they’ve suffered at the hands of powerful men.  There is also the incomprehensible behavior of the elected leader in our country, who is seemingly unable to control his impulses.  After I read the article I shared it on Facebook, knowing that it would float around amongst the millions of personal rants with varying degrees of veiled profanity, “look at me” photos, ads for whatever you were just talking to someone about, and targeted “news” designed to inflame our emotions.  Of course there are lots of uplifting posts on social media and insightful commentary on social media as well, (like the posts that invite you to read this. LOL).  But all of this led me to think about the writers point about immaturity in our society, and I think the article only scratches the surface.

It is obvious to me that young people today are begging adults to GROW UP!  Teenagers, are taking to the streets imploring the adults to do something about the proliferation of hand-held killing machines.  Their cries are being met with a smirk by influential adults on behalf of millions of adults who hold sacred their right to disregard the greater good because no one should be able to tell them what they can and cannot have. ADULT IMMATURITY.  We also watch as undisciplined young people band together to protect their efforts to sell drugs and commit crimes within their turf.  This foolery too often degenerates into lethal conflicts about real or imagined insults or perceived disrespect.  The victims are not just these gang-bangers (which doesn’t cause much sympathy), but also innocent bystanders who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But why are these young hoodlums undisciplined?  It is because the so-called adults who brought them into the world don’t have the wherewithal for any number of reasons to discipline them.  Regardless of the reason or their degree of culpability, it’s ADULT IMMATURITY.  In the meantime, many of the more stable adults are busy chasing that good life which can also be called that young life.  So many of us are concerned with being cool, and in our society the arbiter of what is “cool” are young adults.  More and more it seems, forty and fifty year old people are dressing like, talking like, and acting like they are their twenty year old counterparts.

While all of this is going on, there seems to be fewer and fewer sober, serious-minded people. Concepts like honor, temperance, virtue, and self-control long ago became passé in the public square.    Being responsible is too boring in the age of cable news commentary and social media activism.  It is easier to rage against the machine and sling salacious accusations at our enemies than it is to have serious, thoughtful dialogue about our problems.  This too is ADULT IMMATURITY.  Instead the lack of meaningful, mature public discourse too often ends with a message from those who seem to be throwing a public tantrum is – the message is listen to me! Disruptive protest and riots are tools that are used by those who believe their grievances are being ignored by immature adults with their fingers in their ears singing “la-la-la-la”.

The prescription for this malignant immaturity is found in Scripture (of course).  It seems simple – almost too simple.  In the 13thchapter of his letter to the immature Christians in Corinth, Paul describes the supreme virtue of love.  His well-known description can also be a poignant description of a mature adult;  it“…is patient…is kind…is not jealous…does not brag and is not arrogant…does not act unbecomingly…does not seek its own…is not provoked…does not take into account a wrong suffered (or is not easily offended)…does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  (v 4-7). Then after commenting on the temporary nature of things like prophecy and tongues, Paul poetically describes a transition that we should all undergo.  He says,

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Cor 13:11

We need many more adults to GROW UP!


One thought on “GROW UP!

  1. Amen EL! Amen! If only the “Adults” could be more of an example of “putting away” those “childish things!” May all Adults vow today to be a better role model to a crying, hurting, younger generation, in desperate need of disciplined, loving, mature guidance from the Adult figures in their lives! But do they, themselves, know HOW to be such a model?


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