On 2nd January, 1996 Gerri Scazzero turned to her husband Pete to tell him that she is going to quit the church. The problem was that Pete was the Senior Pastor. Eight to nine years earlier they had planted New Life Fellowship in New York and the church was thriving in many ways, but more often than not it seemed that people weren’t growing spiritually the way they ought.
Gerri wasn’t saying that she didn’t love God, but that her marriage was terrible and her husband wasn’t available. Emotionally they weren’t available for one another. This defining moment took Pete and Gerri on a journey where they began to realise that our emotional health and our spiritual health are not separate.
Their observation was that we need to cultivate our walk with God that invades all parts of who we are. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God and allowing him to transform us. This transformation includes our emotions. Pete and Gerri made the observation that when we are not growing emotionally, it impacts our spiritual growth.
Pete Scazzero suggests that when we take things personally and take disagreements as a personal offense, when we complain and throw tantrums because we don’t get our own way, or become sarcastic and seek to take revenge, these are all signs that we are an emotional child. He suggests that part of the work of letting God change us is also moving to emotional health. A place where we can love and respect one another without becoming judgmental. This is made possible by truly embracing the truth, that we are deeply loved by Christ. We accept that we are wounded and work is in progress, and begin to look at others in the same way.
The childlike faith we are commended to embrace in Scripture is not a childish faith. Everyone of us can at times be an emotional child, adolescent, adult and sometimes we are an emotional infant. The transformation God can bring about, is more than shaping what we know, but who we are.
Next time you find yourself reacting in a way that is not mature, stop and seek God in that moment. Thank Him that you are deeply loved by Him, and ask Him to transform you and mature you. We are all immature and wounded in some way, but the great news is that we don’t have to stay there. Let the God who fashioned you, died for you, also transform you (and me), into the people He knows we can be.