Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Paul is all about “fighting the good fight of faith,” but he is definitely not a supporter of disagreements within the church family.
Now, I don’t know why I stopped on these verses this morning and just couldn’t move on. I wanted to talk about Phil. 4:4 which has been my favorite verse since I was a little girl.
But I couldn’t.
I felt like there was someone who needed to hear something today about the passage above.
Maybe you’re reading this and find yourself in a place of disagreement with a Christian brother or sister.
Maybe you’re reading this and find yourself stuck between people who are not getting along.
In either case, I think it is comforting to realize that even in the church 2000 years ago there were people who had difficulties with each other. Maybe the church had been meeting in one person’s house and now had moved to the other’s. Maybe Paul had visited one of them a little more often than the other. Maybe they both liked to sing and didn’t receive equal opportunities to share their gift. I don’t know.
All I know is Paul loves them both, he “implores” them both to get along, he says they are both going to be in Heaven, but he cares enough about their conflict to address them in a letter that will be read to the entire congregation.
How long are we going to wait to make peace with others who love Jesus?
Are we going to wait until God takes extreme measures to call us to unity in a way that may not be quite so private?
I hope not.
Sometimes I like to close my eyes and ask myself, “Who do I have something against right now? Who has something against me?”
If someone comes to mind, I try my best to address it.
I remember about two years ago as I was doing this that someone came to mind that I hadn’t seen in several years. I knew that when we last spent time together things were tense. As I thought about this person, I knew that both of us had handled things poorly in a stressful situation. But I also knew that I was older and I was the one being convicted. I had to do something to make peace with this Christian friend.
I found them on Facebook and wrote them a long letter apologizing for my part in our stressed friendship.
I nervously waited thinking that if I did not hear back from them then surely they hated me, but within just a few hours I received a long and very sweet reply. We both realized that during that season of life both of us were going through a lot of emotional things that had caused us to handle life in ways that weren’t the most kind or forgiving.
The peace that washed over me was indescribable.
As I write this today, I’m praying that you will choose to take a few minutes to close your eyes and ask, “Who has anything against me? Who do I have any thing against?”
If someone comes to mind, say a prayer and then take the first step towards reconciliation.
If you know of brothers or sisters who are not getting along, maybe God is calling you to be the peacemaker. Reach out to these people..maybe not by writing a letter to your church that mentions their names (unless you are in prison and feel that is your only option)…but reach out to them in a way that shows you love them and you care.
When I think of all of the horrific things going on in our world these days, I can totally understand how God has little patience with Christians who simply can’t agree.
When we stand before God and see the glory of His throne, all of our earthly “conflicts” are going to seem so pointless.
Clean your slate today.
You will feel so free!
I love the passage in Hebrews 10 that says we are to be
“encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Every day we are one day closer to that great Day, and I believe God is calling us all to be encouragers!
We don’t have time to fight!
Thankful for all of you,