Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13 (NIV)
My two boys, born five years apart, are so different that sometimes I wondered how they could be born of the same parents and raised in the same house. Oldest son was compliant and easy from birth. Give him a box of legos, and he would sit in the middle of the living room floor for hours. He loved everyone and was much loved as well. He talked early and with great wit and intelligence. We never had the terrible twos. We took him to restaurants and wondered why other parents could not control their children while he sat politely in his booster seat and talked to us like another adult. We were convinced we were the world’s best parents. Then, at age five, his life ended (in his opinion) when his little brother was born. Youngest could climb out of his crib before he was one. He never walked, but started off running. We woke in the morning to find the refrigerator emptied and all its contents spread out on the kitchen floor. We never took him to any restaurants unless they had a play place. At age three, he packed up his belongings and tried to run away. Later, we would wish we had let him go. (Just kidding, kind of). His first word was NO! He proved to us we were not at all competent because he stretched every ounce of patience we had. We loved them both, but found that techniques that worked with one backfired with the other. When youngest was four, his teacher called us in for a conference to tell us that youngest had confided that every night before going to sleep, his older brother told him how much youngest was hated and how stupid he was. We immediately gave them separate rooms, but the problems did not go away. As the two of them grew, they often butted heads and in fact, became more enemies than brothers. Often, we had to step in and separate them fearful that one might kill the other. Teasing, angry words, furious fights, insecurities and anxieties. Life was not easy or calm. They even looked so different that a stranger would not know that they were brothers. Then, one day when both were teenagers, I am not sure how it happened, but they laid down their swords. Husband says it was the day oldest realized his brother was bigger than he. I choose to believe it was maturity finally stepping in. Now, they enjoy each others company. Exchange confidences and share interests. They know more about each other than husband and I do. The funniest thing is now as young adults when you sit them down together, you can see the family resemblance. So it is with the family of Christ. When we squabble and treat each other poorly, our immaturity is showing. We are to become like Christ. How can we know we are growing up into Christ? When we are bonded together in love.