6. They don’t play the victim card.
As long as I can remember, I’ve used the victim card to buy attention and power. My situation was always “their” fault. By “their” I mean anybody or anything but the man in the mirror. The victim card gives you an answer to why your life sucks, why you didn’t get that job, why your marriage is falling apart, etc.
But the victim card never tells you the only thing that will transform your life: You’re the problem, and your life will change when you take control of your actions.
Emotionally mature Christians undoubtedly hear the lies of victimhood, but they don’t listen. They believe life is a choice. They take control of their actions. Real power is found here because people and circumstances don’t impact their joy and peace.
7. They receive criticism without becoming defensive.
Emotionally mature Christians know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses. They also know their gifts, the unique ways God wired them to serve the world. Criticism, therefore, doesn’t wreck them, nor is it a personal attack.
Unless you know who you are, and find your identity in God, criticism will impact you—almost always negatively—because you’re tied to opinions of others.
8. They aren’t easily offended.
Immature Christians are fixated on being right, acquiring success, looking good and stealing the spotlight. They need an enemy because they find meaning in winning battles, proven others wrong and the like.
Because of this, they’re highly sensitive to opposing views, quick to throw up walls and live a reactionary existence.
Emotionally mature Christians, however, are nearly un-offendable. Filled with empathy for their neighbor, emotionally mature Christians focus more on loving and listening than convincing and correcting.
9. They believe God loves them for who they are, not what they do.
Emotionally immature Christians teeter on the edge of burnout and believe God honors such a thing. They say yes to everyone and would probably look down on a Christian who thinks otherwise. In general, their view of God and God’s view of them depends on how much they do.
Emotionally mature Christians embrace a slower version of Christian living, believing God cares more about who they are than what they do. They know their limitations, and they’ve moved past trying to save the world.
They’re patient and hopeful, motivated by love to serve others. But they don’t allow their works for God to outweigh their time with God.
10. They don’t use absolutes or see the world as “black and white.”
Emotionally mature Christians don’t need the world to make sense. They don’t need to know where everyone stands. They paint the world grey, and rarely use absolutes like “never,” “always” and “The Bible clearly says…”
Absolutes help immature Christians compress the world to a manageable size, one that’s both safe and void of unknown.
They circle the wagons around familiarity and comfort because, God help us, the world is scary and falling apart. They’re always under the assumption that the presence of evil is stronger today than any other period in history, and the return of Jesus is imminent.
Emotionally mature Christians, however, avoid drawing lines and aren’t afraid to say “I think” or “I believe.” They embrace unknown, trusting God to fill in the voids. And they’re hopeful perspective, both internally and socially, keeps them from seeing a “doom and gloom” world.
11. They step into conflicts and resolve them in a healthy way.
Emotionally mature Christians resist labeling conflict as “bad.” It’s hard, of course. But it’s not bad.
“Fight or flight”—the way most respond to conflict—doesn’t solve conflict, resulting instead in emotional outbursts or a “head in the sand, conflict doesn’t exist because I don’t see it” perspective (which usually only creates more conflict).
Many Christians, myself included, equate peace and unity with conflict avoidance, which bucks against the ministry of Jesus. “Sweeping stuff under the rug” doesn’t make conflict go away, and it’s certainly not Christian.
Emotional maturity says you can deal with conflict in a way that brings both resolution and growth for both sides.
But doing so requires empathy (an awareness of the other person’s feelings and situation), being in control of your emotions and a focus on resolving rather than winning.
Emotional maturity is not only important for spiritual growth and maturity, it’s essential. God designed us with emotions. They’re an important component of our humanity, but they shouldn’t impact our decision-making.
When we understand our emotions, we’re in control of ourselves, able to identify (and change) destructive behavioral patterns, and we’re more compassionate.
This, in turn, makes us better leaders, spouses, parents and friends.
If you want some resources on emotional maturity, I recommend these:
Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman
Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!