Saturday 30 April 2016

Bible Book:

"I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offences, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded." (vv. 17-18)

Romans 16:3-27 Saturday 30 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 83


In this final part of the letter to the Romans, the author Paulwarns that some people who are part of the early Christiancommunity are causing "dissensions and offences".

Those who cause dissensions are acting, maybe unconsciously, out ofself-interest. Such self-interest always distorts the world aroundit with hidden pressures.

Flattery draws people out of innocence and closeness with theirbrothers and sisters, and tempts them with worldly visions ofimportance, of being loved more, of being 'special'.

But we can only be special by putting ourselves above others, andimmediately then the rifts begin in the community.

Once the flatterer has fed someone's ego in this way, they alsohave power over them. The person flattered craves more, and will dothe will of the flatterer to get it.

Pressures abound in the world as well as in our dealings withpeople. Advertising, the constant portrayal of a desirable life inthe Sunday supplements and in TV programmes says: aspire to standout from the crowd, be one of the special ones.

We can resist this by giving up on self interest and our desire tobe loved by the world and becoming resistant to suchpressures.

Or, as Paul says, especially when faith is a tender shoot, we canprotect ourselves by avoiding people or situations where we arelikely to come across these pressures. As we pray in the Lord'sPrayer, "Lead us not into temptation".

To Ponder

  • How practical is it to stay away from that which confuses anddeceives us?
  • How do we 'love our neighbour' if we avoid them? Or is thisimpossible?
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