06.17.2020 Devotional

06.17.2020 Devotional

Dear Friends,

“I urge you to watch out for people who create divisions and problems against the teaching that you learned. Keep away from them. People like that aren't serving the Lord. They are serving their own feelings. They deceive the hearts of innocent people with smooth talk and flattery.” - Romans 16:17-18

Malcolm Gladwell, the journalist and author, has a theory. He believes that the people who truly create social change in this world are always a little "disagreeable." Unlike people who seek peace and unity at every cost, disagreeable people are willing to not be liked by everyone. They lean into conflict instead of backing away. They are also willing to break rules from time to time in order to do what is right.

We tend to lean away from conflict in society, and in most churches. We get uncomfortable when someone takes a hard stand or raises their voice. We would prefer to give in to someone rather than have a difference of opinion.

As I get older, I've come to understand that differences of opinion are not just OK, but vital. If a group that is engaged in problem-solving starts thinking with one mind, when no one is willing to object, then that kind of groupthink is evidence of a problem. It’s also evidence that the solution chosen may not necessarily be the best solution since it doesn’t include the thoughts of all involved in solving the problem.

Are there people who like to "create divisions and problems"? Absolutely. We've all known church bullies who love to start drama. But should everyone who has a different opinion be put in that category? No. In fact, if we start to do that, neither the church nor society will ever progress any further in the advancement of God's vision.

Paul warns the church in Rome to be on the lookout for anyone who contradicts the truths that they know. He tells them to be aware of the ones who serve themselves, and not God. It is the deception of God's people that he is worried about; not the threat of a disagreeable person who is still trying to stay in community and find God's will.

The next time a contradictory opinion comes up, test the spirits. Is it really a "division and problem"? Or, is it possible that it's another way of understanding a possible new thing that God is doing? God speaks from the margins more than we know, and maybe that disagreeable voice is a sign that the still speaking God has got something new to say.

Prayer

God, help me to hear what you are telling the church today, no matter whose voice you are using, and help me to test the spirits of all I hear. Amen.

In Christ, Pastor Denise

**Urgent Attention:

A couple of our members have had their emails compromised (hacked). If you get an email from Barbara Clarkson or Sally Bush, please DO NOT RESPOND to the email ! Neither Sally nor Barbara need your help buying them any gift cards. If you think you have responded to an email from them all ready please change your email password right away. If you have gotten an email from them you can call them on the phone to check on them.

 
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