Summary: You'd think that mature Christians wouldn't argue among each other... but they do. Why do they do that, how can we keep ourselves from hurting Jesus with that destructive habit?
OPEN: A preacher told of how his family would spend weekends at his grandparents when he was a boy. In winter, they’d slide down a grassy hill on an old car hood. In the spring, before the fields were plowed, they’d play football in those fields, and when the fields were plowed they’d have dirt clod fights. And in the summer, they’d fish for catfish in the creek. It was a fun time to be alive.
But he said he remembered one thing that was all out of whack in those days at the farm. He had two aunts who had gotten into a spat and they refused to speak to each other or be in the same house with each other. So on those days when they were both there at the farm one of his aunts would sit in the car while the other was in house having a good time. Then at a specified time the aunt who was in the house would go out to her car and sit while the other aunt went inside. (Monty Newton, sermoncentral.com)
Now, how bizarre is that? The preacher went on to say that eventually his aunts made up and everything was OK… but that’s a truly odd way to live life. And yet, when Paul is writing to the church at Philippi it seems they have a couple of quarreling aunts at that church too. Paul writes: “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 …” Philippians 2:2-3
What’s going on here? You’d think in a church that Paul started (a man who’d written half your New Testament and who’d been instrumental in the spread of Christianity throughout the known world) everything would be sweetness and light. Everyone would love everyone else. But not so with Euodia and Syntyche. Something was definitely wrong there.
And what makes this even more troubling was that these two ladies had been personal helpers of Paul’s. They had “labored side by side” with him. Now, why would these 2 girls (who were obviously strong Christians) not be "agreeing in the Lord"?
Well, it seems they got mad at each other.
It happens, you know. People get mad at each other all the time in a lot of churches. But the question is why? I thought, once you became a Christian God REMADE you. In fact in Revelation 21:5 God said just that: “Behold, I make all things new.”
And that is true. God has changed us: He’s forgiven us all of our sins; He’s healed all our past; He’s given us a NEW destination (Heaven)
But still this quarreling happens even in churches.
Well, maybe it’s just the NEW Christians that have that problem. I mean seasoned saints would never behave like that would they? Well, no – even older Christians sometimes blow a gasket. Euodia and Syntyche had been around for quite a while when their spat blew up.
So what’s wrong here? Why do even Christians get mad at each other? Well, here’s the deal. You can write it down; you can take it to the bank; and you had best underline in your Bible: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) If you understand that one little verse all kinds of conflicts and disagreements suddenly make sense.
Yes, God HAS remade us and He HAS changed us. But every once in a while the old ways of thinking pop up… and things blow up.
That’s why God tells us He’s called us to relearn how we THINK. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and he told them: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”
Now notice what he says next: “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were TAUGHT in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were TAUGHT, with regard to your former way of life, to PUT OFF your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to PUT ON the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24