Monday, April 6, 2009

Reacting With Maturity

Maturity is not so much about how you address a situation, but rather how you react to one. Is a mature person assertive? I would assume so, and I would expect them to be assertive when addressing a situation. But how a person reacts, especially to extreme situations, says a lot about who they are as a person.

In our society people are always trying to one up each other. When faced with an extreme opinion they counterbalance it with another extreme opinion, which leads to polarization, isolation, and a major disconnect between political and cultural groups.

For a few weeks there I couldn't turn on a media outlet without hearing about Rihanna getting beat up by her boyfriend Chris Brown. Talk about two spoiled individuals' sense of entitlement getting them into trouble; she does whatever she wants, he does whatever he wants, and inevitably things get ugly. She reacts immaturely, he reacts even more immaturely and much more cowardly, and everyone loses. Where are the cool headed celebrities? The mature ones? The ones like Bill Cosby who can laugh at the camera guy and crack jokes?

Sadly, maturity and class have gone completely unrewarded in our society... everyone wants to see grown people act like children. Everyone wants to witness a train wreck.

And how about the medias implications of that Rihanna vs. Chris Brown thing? After it happened I kept hearing that "it's never okay to hit a woman." I agree, but I also think its never okay to hit a man. Frankly, I don't think two people should hit each other. But what are we saying to our kids when we say, "it's never okay to hit a woman." Well, we're saying a few things. First, we're saying women are exempt from any physical consequences for their actions. Secondly, we're saying that men aren't. I agree, nobody should hit a woman, I think it takes a coward of a man to do so. A childish coward. I also think woman shouldn't have a license to around punching these childish cowards and provoking their insecurities. What a disaster that would be.

Everyone is just reacting. Every time something extreme happens, the opposite extreme seems to come out of the woodwork. Last year everyone hated Bush's capitalism, this year they hate Obama's socialism. We complain like children. We are weak and fickle. The majority of us have no examples of maturity to look up to. We have authority, we have leaders, but they are for the most part deeply narcissistic and immature at heart. So what are we left with, celebrities?

If you want to know what maturity is, read the Gospels of Jesus. Jesus' responses to the extreme accusations and entrapments of the "religious right" of the time were well thought out. He reacted with calmly stated pieces of wisdom. So much so, that many times his accusers went away with no rebuttal. He didn't escalate the fight. He didn't trade extreme for extreme. He reacted to their slander with logic, peaceful confidence and humility.

He reacted with maturity.

John 8: 3-11

he teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

May we learn to mimic some of that.


  1. This is very well thought out and I agree with the whole assertiveness but one should also know when to speak and when not to. only to often we have well formed comebacks but at the wrong time. And it is sad that people only have celebrities to look up to. Maybe this was caused by the lack of a unified family to show kids responsibility and help them gain wisdom.

    Well thats about all i have to say, and i am glad that there are others who see this happening too.

  2. Agreed. Take a look at Galatians 2:11-21. It's all about Paul rebuking Peter for being a hypocrite. We just covered this in my Bible study just an hour ago, and I find it very interesting that this is the first thing I see when I come online. More people should take this viewpoint.

  3. I've been thinking on what you wrote, and I can't help but think of the fruits of the spirit. Reacting with maturity requires self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. As followers of Jesus, and as a sign of our own growth in the knowledge of Him, we should be set apart in our reactions. Thanks for the reminder to stand apart from the world (and its rediculous ways).

  4. disagree bro...see that photo of rihanna's face? someone didn't react immaturely or trade a slap for a slap. Someone committed a crime--didn't see photos of Brown looking battered and bruised--and to excuse it as immaturity is to condone the crime. There's a distinct difference when it comes to a man hitting a woman vs. a woman hitting a man; one isn't a fair fight. There's no trading of extreme for extreme...there's only the imposition of one extreme upon a weaker 'other.' And that's what creates a victim and a crime, yo. Immaturity? That would be her continuing to stay with him.

    It's a man's world. Women are limited in their licenses already. I wouldn't worry too much about us being granted an excess.

  5. mhmm. important to keep in mind. our world [and each of us in it] completely lacks self control.

    love that story in john 8. jesus fascinates me. and i've always wondered what he was drawing, writing, in the sand...


  6. navy2001,

    I apologize if you feel that I was condoning Chris Browns actions in any way. I am shocked to think how you may have derived that at all. I also do not think that immaturity is an excuse. Thats the whole point of the post, that immaturity is a big problem. It is chronic, and it is not excusable. It truly is the cause of domestic violence, and I was not implying that lack of maturity excuses a malicious crime in any way. I don't know how you got that. Our society might downplay it, but I most certainly don't. Any man that choses to unleash his emotions through his fist is an impish, weak-minded baby. It doesn't matter what gender he's hitting... but I would agree he is much worse for assaulting a weaker vessel.

    From what I heard, Brown got a text from a girl, Rihanna read it and got jealous and threw his phone out of the vehicle. Already, immaturity has taken place. A mature thing for him to do is say, "Okay, I'm sorry about _______, but I would prefer you not to throw my phone out the window." Instead he choses to REACT WITH IMMATURITY and escalate the fight, put his girlfriend in a headlock and punch her repeatedly. If you ask me, thats the most immature thing someone could do in that situation. It's flat out childish, and as an adult he is deserving of extreme punishment. The goal of my post was to say that immaturity is NOT AN EXCUSE. Immaturity is a chronic problem everywhere, in both women and men, and I'd love to see it addressed in the media, as opposed to them just impulsively reacting as well.

    To be realistic. Not every criminal is all bad, and no victim is all good. The criminal is the one who chooses to react in the most extreme way to the situation. The criminal is the one who immaturely elevates the situation, loses his cool, and does something unquestionably wrong. Chris Brown is the criminal here, he had no right to react in the way he did. He's also the most immature.

    But I'll stick to my story, they both reacted immaturely, ones just more of a bad seed. Thats just my opinion. A good man would have reacted to her immaturity calmly and diffused the situation. I guess he just wasn't mature enough to do that.