“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:2-3
This brief message is given near the end of the book of Philippians. Evidentially there has been a serious quarrel between two members of the congregation, leaders who have worked with Paul to advance the gospel. This pains him, and he begs them to work out their differences.
Disagreements like this still happen, and they create a tense and unhappy atmosphere in the church. Notice that Paul does not take sides, probably because when a relationship is broken, both people have contributed to the problem. Both must be willing to work toward reconciliation and peace. Paul also asks a third party, his “true companion” (possibly Epaphroditus who delivered the letter) to help them resolve things. He asks the women to “agree in the Lord.” That doesn’t mean they have to agree in every detail, they don’t have to become best friends, just be willing to set aside personal grievances for the sake of Christ and the good works they can continue to do together.
Have you ever felt upset with a fellow member? What did you do? Blow up and tell them off? Run to another member and start gossip about their bad behavior? Complain to the Pastor and expect him to take your side? All of these actions will only magnify the problem. In the book of Matthew we find the correct first step toward a solution:
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” Matthew 18:15
Sometimes you will find the person did not mean to offend you at all; sometimes you will reach a compromise; sometimes you will just realize how important it is to forgive and set aside differences for the good of Jesus and the gospel. After all, what kind of witnesses are we, if we can’t even get along with each other?
I’d like to hear some stories from others. Have you been in this situation? How have you handled it? Maybe I’ll tell you one of my own experiences tomorrow.
God loves you and so do I!