Two sides to every pancake


Aaron Bartsch is the recently minted director of facilities and maintenance at First Baptist Church, or as we like to call him around the office, the minister of maintenance.

He also has served on our deacon board and plays bass guitar for our worship team.

Most people at First Baptist are aware of these facts, but what you may not know is that Aaron is an actual, real-life samurai. I’ve seen his suit of armor and sword, and I’ve watched him teach martial arts classes. If you’ve ever met Aaron, he doesn’t strike you as the “fists of fury” type because he’s not. He is quite possibly the most humble, patient, selfless, servant-hearted person I’ve ever met.

He is a quiet, contemplative person, but if you’re around him very long, you realize there’s a lot going on inside his mind. Every once in a while, he’ll hit me with a profound nugget of wisdom, and I’ll think to myself, “There’s the ninja.”

One comment in particular has stuck with me. Fairly early in my time as pastor at FBC, there was a sharp disagreement between two people in our church. A member of Aaron’s family was involved in the disagreement and had been hurt by things that were said and done. I approached Aaron to get his take on things. He told me what he knew about the situation without getting angry or demanding.

He paused for a moment, then offered a fortune cookie worthy statement. He said, “No matter how thin you make a pancake, there are always two sides.”

He wasn’t saying that no one was right and no one was wrong. The truth was his family member was clearly in the right. He was pointing out the importance of perspective, specifically, seeing the other side of the issue. Even more than that, he was pointing out the delicacy of the relationship and attempting to protect the integrity of the relationship. He was advocating for compassion and communication.

We live in a very tense time in American culture. Finger-pointing and name-calling have become the norm. We have created a combative culture where battle lines are clearly drawn and we expect complete and unquestioning allegiance. If we get the sense that someone has crossed the line on us, we are quick to become defensive and offensive.

It is all too easy for us to be drawn into and bogged down by finger-pointing battles. We are convinced that we are right and they are wrong. Too often, we are so blinded by our own rightness that we are unable to see beyond the opposing perspective to the person who holds it. We sacrifice the potential and power of a continued relationship for the glory of being right in the moment.

Social graces are noticeably missing from many interactions because grace has gone out of style. We have been led to believe that showing compassion and kindness to our enemies demonstrates weakness. I would argue, however, that quite the opposite is true.

The ability to stay silent in the face of hostility and vain arguments demonstrates strong character and integrity. We must stand up for our beliefs with conviction while listening to others with compassion. We need to remember that however right we think we are, our perspective is limited and it is wise to proceed with a degree of humility.

Grace was a defining feature of the life of Jesus. Christians like to point to the moments when Jesus takes the religious establishment to task, but more often than not, Jesus deals with his enemies with compassion and understanding.

Further, though he was the most morally upright person who ever lived, he chose to keep company with those who everyone knew were living wrong. He kept lines of communication open and made efforts to protect the possibility within relationships. He understood that no matter how thin you make a pancake, there are always two sides. And he was able to see beyond his perspective, which was always right, to the person on the other side.

Our world would certainly benefit from us learning to do the same.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

No posts to display