“I didn’t want to look at the hard things going on in my marriage. I didn’t want to look at pain, sadness, fear. I was just too busy working for God. Using God to run from God is a very tricky thing.”

Even though he was serving God and the pastor of a growing church, Peter Scazzero emotional immaturity was influencing his decisions and relationships. He was using his role and work to avoid taking responsibility and avoid God Himself.

It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Peter lists several other ways we can be emotionally unhealthy when it comes to our spirituality.

  • Doing things God never asked us to do.
  • To do God’s work to satisfy ourselves – not Him.
  • Hiding behind God-talk and deflecting the spotlight from my inner cracks.
  • Using biblical truth to devalue and judge others.
  • Using biblical truth to selectively avoid any necessary life changes.

Another symptom of emotionally immature spirituality is ignoring our emotions, especially those of anger, sadness, and fear.

“We were made by God to feel. God feels, and we feel. We are made in God’s image; we don’t stop feeling until we’re dead. Think about this, many of the Psalms are laments. We’ve got this incredible theology of grief and yet we have many Christians who say they don’t do sadness.”

Peter says that the problem with ignoring sadness is God actually meets us in our negative emotions.

“Sadness enlarges our soul. Sadness softens us. Sadness teaches us compassion. Sadness is a way to experience God. However, ignoring it is basically keeping us in immaturity.”

By addressing our negative emotions and taking them to the cross we will grow in relationship with God as well as grow in emotional and spiritual maturity.

Emotionally healthy spirituality

Peter Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City. After serving as senior pastor for 26 years, Peter now serves as the teaching pastor and pastor-at-large. He is the author of The Emotionally Health Leader and The Emotionally Healthy Church.

Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

Featured Songs: Overcomer – Mandisa; Mighty Cross – Elevation Worship; Still – Hillary Scott

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