Scripture: Romans 16: 17-22
Key verses: (17-18) I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
Reflection: Have you ever heard of the compliment sandwich? It is when someone gives you a compliment and then slides in a harsh criticism and then folds it neatly into another compliment. It is confusing! You respond with a “Thank you!” but you think “Thank you?”. It is a hostile and aggressive tactic that can steal a few moments, or some energy or maybe even some self-esteem. We all have people in our life who make our lives unbearable. As people of faith we remember these words Paul said earlier in Romans 12, verse 16 “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.” We are called to live in harmony so we work hard to find common ground with those who have different opinions and live within different systems.
We are right in the middle of the 21-day Youth, Faith and Race challenge this month and when it comes to issues of race and racism, there are many hard conversations and lots of different opinions. Dr. Eddie Moore who helped create the challenge for Myers Park Presbyterian Church was asked how he deals with the most racist people in his life and he said there are just some pancakes that cannot be flipped. I love that phrase!
Watch out for those who cause divisions and obstacles, keep away from them, Paul said in Romans 16. Keep away from them. Some pancakes just can’t be flipped. They are stuck. Living in harmony with one another sometimes means walking away for a little while.
Prayer: God of Love, Come to this place and encourage us to do the work
to which we were baptized.
Help us to proclaim the Good News in word and in deed.
We pray this day for the hope we have found,
the peace we seek,
and the joy we will receive in your Holy name.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].