Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Time for Reconciliation




Scripture:

Phil. 4:2   I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Observation:

Evidently there were two wonderful women in the church in Philippi who were not in agreement with one another. They seemed to have differing opinions about something and it may have been tearing up the church. Paul asks them to please “be of the same mind in the Lord.” In other words, find unity in what you really believe, and leave the rest alone. 

If the women couldn’t come to the same mind on their own, he pleaded with others to help them. They were good women, who had worked hard together with Paul. Good women, who needed to come to a place of reconciliation.

Application:

Disagreement or discord among believers is terribly destructive to the kingdom. I believe that this is the place where the enemy tries to work the hardest.  Our feelings do get hurt and often we begin to dig in and refuse to budge because we are “in the right.” Sometimes that matter of being in the right is simple a matter of perspective. Suddenly you can have two people on opposite sides of the spectrum declaring that they are right! Now, if there is no discussion or willingness to compromise, a stalemate occurs. 

We all know what happens next. They each begin to gather around themselves those who will agree with their opinion. Or, even if they don’t agree, they are almost pushed into the opinion from a perspective of “loyalty.” Friendships begin to be questions and the rift among a congregation of believers can become huge. What began as a small disagreement from two individuals with differing perspectives tears apart an entire community of believers and the congregation loses its effectiveness. Euodia and Syntyche are blinded to the effects of their decisions because they are both so determined to be “right.”

There is a need for reconciliation and now it’s time for others to intervene. This kind of a divide cannot continue for its destructive forces will render the witness of the entire church useless. The process of reconciliation must be bathed in much prayer, on the part of those hoping to intervene, and on the part of Euodia and Syntyche. Only when all parties humble themselves before the Lord will they begin to see the situation through the eyes of others. Jesus was willing to humble himself for our sakes, becoming human, living, dying and resurrected, all for us. What are we willing to do for others? Jesus didn’t demand his own rights, but humbly submitted them for people who were completely unworthy. When I demand my own rights at the risk of creating havoc within the community of faith, I am no longer responding like Jesus. 

The reality is that people will never do everything right. Opportunities for hurt feelings will abound, but never let those feelings destroy what God wants to do in the community of faith. If the individuals involved cannot come to common ground, then may others intercede to help bring about one mind, reconciliation, in Christ. 

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to have the mind of Christ. May there be peace among your people — the church.  Amen. 

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