Be Still Know
Philippians 4.2-3 NLT
‘Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.’
There’s nothing new about people falling out with one another! It has been a feature of life from the very beginning as we learn from the story of Cain and Abel. The question is, “what do we do when it happens?” and Paul here offers some helpful advice.
The first step is for those who disagree to seek to resolve their differences. We have no idea what the women disagreed about. Presumably it must have been fairly serious for Paul to go to the trouble of making mention of it in his letter. He reminds the women that they belonged to the Lord and that is a crucially important fact. Belonging to the same family doesn’t meant that disagreements won’t occur but it does mean that we are not alone in seeking to resolve the situation. We can pray together and seek God’s guidance. Normally, in my experience, if there is a willingness to find a way through a disagreement, it can be found. Sometimes the best that can be done is to agree to disagree. We agree to respect one another even though our views are so different, and affirm our love and commitment to one another as family members.
Sometimes no amount of conversation between the people who disagree resolves the situation. Paul clearly senses that Euodia and Syntyche need some help and asks his “true partner” to offer assistance. This isn’t an easy role, but it is a vital one and as a Good News community it is important that every church can identify people who can act as peace-makers. This is a tough task and requires much love, grace and wisdom. There are times when even the most able peace- maker cannot resolve a situation and there needs to be an agreement to part company. This was Paul’s own experience when, after a difference of view with Barnabas, they decided to go off in different directions. At all costs what it is vital is that disagreements are addressed and not allowed to rumble on for years causing pain and yet further division.
QUESTION: What have you found to be the best way of resolving disagreements?
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to be a peace-maker today.
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