It is encouraging to remember that we are not merely dependent upon each other as we mature. The apostle Paul reminds us that it is God who makes us grow. "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow" (1 Corinthians 3:7)
Hard as we try, we cannot make someone else mature any quicker than they're ready for; that is God's work. Although at times we are called to confront one another in love, many times we simply need to wait patiently. I'm not sure which is tougher! I do know that a key to healthy relationships that grow and endure is the ability to discern wisely when to confront, when to push gently, and when to wait.
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul urges us to "be patient, bearing with one another in love." And when love's many attributes are listed by the same apostle, the very first one is this: "Love is patient." (1 Corinthians 13:4) Our patience with one another in our different stages of growth reveals our love, and it is also a mark of our own maturity.
Our journey through life is full of challenges and struggles, but it is also full of wonder, joy and miracles. As we all grow together, "let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds... encouraging one another..." (Hebrews 10:24,25) As we do that, it helps to recognize that God is more interested in our growth than we are! So let us trust Him with our journey and that of others, doing our part each day, thankful that God will help us all mature into the blessed people He created us to be - in His time.
Let us be patient with one another and, as we wait, may we choose to love!