I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:17-20
Our own egos can get in the way of faith and growth - ours and others. When I was a little girl I was asked to sing a solo in the church. I was very proud of myself until I witnessed a horrifying event. My mother was standing to one side after church being berated by a powerful church member. He raised his voice as I got close. He told her the only reason I got the solo was because I was the ministers' child and that we were all spoiled and obnoxious. My mother was in tears. I wanted to run as the man stormed off, but instead all I knew to do was take her hand and hug her. My faith in the adults who were Christian leaders was shattered that day.
The letter to the Romans is very clear how the divisions and obstacles devised by our selfishness can damage and destroy faith. We are all subject, as normal human beings, to wanting control and importance, rather sharing God's love with others. We are all weak at times, and can stand n the way of another faith development. Those who outright destroy the faith of an innocent are subject to great judgment. God invites us today to examine our lives and behavior, so that our words and works bring the heart of God to all people. We can block love as easily as sharing it, and God invites us to get rid of the obstacles and divisions that hurt the most vulnerable among us.
Today I ask God to help me take care in everything I do so that I may encourage faith in all those I encounter today. May I take my role and responsibility seriously, humbling myself in order that others might have faith. May we all be willing to put aside our divisions for the sake of others, and rid ourselves of controls and obstacles that would keep the innocent from the knowledge of God. May we be bearers of peace and may love be our all today.