How to Tolerate Immature Christians

According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, being immature means not fully developed. Now all we have to do is merge the meaning of immaturity with being a Christian. An immature Christian is one that is not fully developed, and this can be evident in their traits, their views, and so on.

For quick spotting of an immature Christian, let’s look at some of the attributes they exhibit. Before I start, there are some myths I would like to debunk. The fact that you are a regular church goer or claim to have been a Christian for a long time doesn’t mean that you can’t be immature. Just like we have some adults who act in a childish and immature manner, we also have long serving “Christians” that act like this.

Are you familiar with this scripture, By their fruits ye shall know them? This was Jesus talking about the false prophets, and this scripture is applicable here too. By the fruits these immature Christians bear, you shall know them. As Christians, there are certain fruits we are to bear, i.e., the fruits of the spirit; when a person is lacking in this, the person can be referred to as an immature Christian. 

Another characteristic you may see in the lives of immature Christians is their wavering faith; sometimes they let the flesh get the best of them. As a mature Christian, you should be able to subdue your flesh, you should be able to heed to the correction of fellow christians, you must exhibit the fruits of the spirit. 

Another attribute is that they can be gullible, as seen in the scriptures. Ephesians 4:14 talks more about them easily as a prey “No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are easy prey for predators. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.” This scripture shows us that immature Christians are easy prey for false prophets and the like because they are not deeply rooted , they can be easily influenced.

Apart from that, the immature Christian doesn’t listen; they are hearers of the word but they don’t heed the word. Let’s take a look at Hebrews 5:11-14 and see what the Bible has to say about this. “I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening." And because of their inability to listen, they are not fit to teach others. Instead, they are to be taught all over again. “By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk—when you should have been on solid food long ago!” Do you know how sad and frustrating it can be for a teacher to teach his/her students and conduct tutorials, and the students still end up repeating the class with his/her juniors? The juniors that he should be helping out with their tasks—that’s the way immature Christians are; you are meant to be leading people to Christ, but yet, you are the ones that still need admonition.

Also, immature Christians need to be constantly spoonfed, as they don't possess the understanding to receive deep scripture. “Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong”

How do we tolerate immature Christians

As adults, we tend to deal with adults who have childish attitudes or act immaturely; this is the same for Christians. In the course of our daily activities, a Christian may have to encounter immature Christians. What then is the best way to deal with someone who isn’t constantly heeding various preachings despite listening to them? 

Firstly, as I would like to advise, always seek wisdom from God before engaging them so as not to get provoked.  Another thing that can work is to call them out on their immaturity and offer to help them become better. With the characteristics they exhibit, they may not heed the first time, and one may have to engage them in counseling because there would be no joy if we pushed them aside. What would then be the difference between both parties?

Another way to tolerate them is to make sure we constantly live by the fruits of the spirit. In doing this, maybe they will emulate your good ways, and also, if they hold positions in the church, you can request that they go for training that will help to not only avoid  polluting the members of their unit but also help them become better.

Lastly, as Christians, there is a certain order that was left for us in the Scripture, and that is, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Regardless of what they do, our attitude must show love, and if you can’t tolerate them, it is best to avoid them, but don't give up on them; keep them in your prayers because nobody is too far gone to change.

To close this up, having understood what an immature Christian is and what characters they exhibit, it is best to help them develop in different aspects that are lacking through constant counseling, bible study, etc. There should be a conscious effort to see to their growth.  

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