“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.”
~1 Corinthians 13:11 (NRSV).
For many off us, the above philosophy has myriad form of meaning. I know for myself, personally, whenever I experience regret it’s usually because I’ve regressed once more into childishness—I’ve spoken like a child, thought like a child or reasoned like a child.
Putting childish ways behind us is hence secured by each situation, and this is best achieved in the arrival of keeping to a pre-agreed—and personally meaningful—standard for mature conduct.
Maturity – Putting Childish Ways Behind Us
The problem for us adults is we have a child clinging to us for the whole of our lives.
This child is home during childhood and can often return in the last years, but he or she makes regular cameos during the intermediate years—mostly for both fun and in hurt.
We never really say goodbye to our inner child, and if we don’t effectively placate him or her in love and loving discipline, they’ll get the best of us. For impulse we’ll get regret. We say something rash; we eat something silly; we compare, complain or compromise, or we stay up all night and fight tiredness all the next day... the list runs on. One decision now, begets regret later.
Putting these ways behind us is the goal. Feelings of regret are merely God’s soft (and hard) chastening by the consequences we experience for living, by our decisions in the childish frame, and we all seem to do it.
Putting childish ways behind us means deciding now, in wisdom, so regrets are not later experienced. It’s holding onto those ill-conceived words, not bringing our fingers to the mouth with junk food, resisting complaining, ungodly compromises and comparisons, and getting our sleep if we can.
Wisdom’s Reward – Peace
The reward for the mature choice—based in wisdom—is peace. Mature people make wise choices and they experience peace, despite what they miss out on.
But maturity is a highly situational condition. String together moments, into days, weeks and months of right decisions, and the case for “maturity” is made with much veracity. The trouble is we all falter. Everybody has their times of immaturity, even if they’re retained more or less secretively.
It’s wisdom’s reward we’re after.
That is, we want peace rather than regret. We want our upfront behaviours now vindicated later. Putting an end to childish ways is enshrined in each decision we make. We alone determine that way. We alone are responsible.
Responsibility (the ability to respond properly) is the act and consequence of maturity.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.