Philippians 4:2-3 NIV
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 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.
Missionaries leave the mission field for many reasons; health, family and danger being major drivers. However, the biggest reason missionaries leave the field is interpersonal conflict with other missionaries. Tension and conflict between believers isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it likely to disappear before Jesus comes again. However, what can we do to ensure it does not become a barrier in our lives or in the lives of others?
Paul recognized the serious consequences of fellow Christians that are unable to get along. In these verses, we see some helpful hints and strategies to deal with conflict.
Embedded in this passage lies his specific plea to these two women, Euodia and Syntche. We don’t know much about them from these verses, but Paul described them with a glowing compliment: they have contended at my side for the cause of the gospel – v3. These were obviously very faithful, respected women who had labored to share Christ’s love in the early church.
Paul did not take sides in the conflict and the issue did not appear to be doctrinal, but instead he urged the women to put aside their personal rights to get along with each other in the Lord -v2. He turned the focus from who might claim to be right, to their shared and meaningful identity in Christ. Being right was not the important issue.
Paul asked others to help these women. A conflict in the church involves more than just those who aren’t getting along. Stepping in to assist two feuding church leaders was one way Jesus said to be blessed; Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God – Matthew 5:9.
As we walk through this day, spend some quiet time with God to examine your relationships. Are there others in the church or in your life that you are prisoner to as you try to be the “righteous one”? Have you observed conflicts, where perhaps you are best suited with God’s guiding hand, to be a peacemaker?
Lord God, we want to be in unity in your church and to work through issues with each other. Help us to give up our rights to be right, in order to work and live in harmony with each other. Shape me to be an instrument of your peace. Amen.
By: Bernie Prusaczyk