Romans 16:17-18
“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. 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.”
Division and obstacles. There is never a shortage of people in life who will cause these things, often for their own benefit or gratification. Paul points out that these people don’t always come with open hostility or conflict, but rather they frequently arrive with “smooth talk and flattery”. The intention behind the words matters! 
There are people in my life who talk smooth, and people who are rough around the edges. It’s easy to accept or reject the words of others based on how ‘comfortable’ they make me. This passage from Romans is a good reminder that “comfort” is not a good criteria for what I accept into my life. Smooth words can hide a divisive heart, and compliments can conceal manipulation and flattery. By the same token, uncomfortable but healthy confrontation can reveal those who care enough about me to challenge me. In my own interaction with others, I need to care enough about those around me, to speak loving truth even when it causes discomfort. The goal is unity and growth–not complacency which ultimately leads to division. 
God, help me to look past surface-level words, to discern hearts and motives. Help me to reject division, and choose unity. Help me to care enough about those around me, to speak the truth in love at all times. 
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