Summary: It’s important that when we see two or more people in a disagreement that we help them figure it out. Why, because we love them!
Phil. 4:2-7 Nov. 22, 2009
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Disagreement; it’s something that we have all been a part of at some time or another. We may as well admit it, we don’t always agree on everything. Whether it’s who get more time on the computer, or what we should have for diner, or how we should spend our money, or if we should even spend it at all. We disagree on paint colours, on hair-styles, on clothing, on vacation plans, on city planning, on politics, and on religious issues.
People disagree with friends, co-workers, their spouse, their children, their neighbours, their boss, their employees, and some folks just never seem to agree on anything.
Whatever it is we disagree about, or whom we disagree with, there is one certain result from having a disagreement, and that is division; division among family, friends, neighbours, nations, and yes, even within the family of God within the church.
As Paul comes to the end of his letter to the church in Philippi, he makes a very public statement to a couple of individuals who are in that church; two women to be specific. Euodia and Syntyche. These are two women who have worked with the apostle Paul, preaching the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savour of the world. Together they have travelled and taught about the life-change that can happen only by putting your trust in Him. But at this particular point, they are in disagreement with each other. Why, what about, or for how long we don’t know. But for some reason, this little note about two women having a disagreement is included in a letter that has been read by millions of people; there must be a good reason for that, don’t you think? More on that in a minute…
Any two people, be they two women, two men, or a combination of the two, or maybe even a whole group of people may, at some times, disagree on things, be they of the church or not. The effects of these disagreements can be, again, summed up in one word, division. And division is not a good thing, especially when it comes to relationships. Division between people leads to mistrust, gossip, lost friendships, broken relationships, divorce, broken families, and even broken churches.
Division is when you take something that is whole, and break it into smaller and smaller bits and pieces. One of the devil’s schemes is to divide God’s people from each other, thus dividing us from God’s plans for the church. Paul would like to see this division among some of his friends to be cleared up so that there is no break in what God is trying to accomplish through them, the preaching of the gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul writes a very clear answer on why we should agree with each other. He says this:
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.(NIV)
But Paul doesn’t lay a big ‘heavy’ on these two ladies with his position of authority. He pleads with them to work it out, with the help of another of his friends, here named as a loyal yoke-fellow, or companion, or partner, or as also translated by name, Syzgus. Paul instructs another in the church to come alongside and help these two ladies solve their differences; these two who have served with him and a bunch of other Christians who have contended for the faith.
You see, it’s important that when we see two or more people in a disagreement that we help them figure it out. Why, because we love them! Would it be so kind to watch their friendship and their ministry suffer over some argument over anything? We need to come alongside and help them solve the problem, not with a judgemental attitude but with a gentle, loving offer of help, in any way we can. This way, not only will they see the love of God in us, but anyone else can see that we truly care for each other, enough to help and to love not just when things are going great, but also when we are struggling. Would that not be something you and I would want to be a part of? I know I would!