Settling Disagreements

Philippians 4: 1-5

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. 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. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.”

Background:

  • Paul begins calling the Philippian believers his dear brothers and sisters.  He asks to them to stay true to the Lord and affirms his love for them.
  • He transitions then to specifically single out two women in a disagreement.  He tells Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreement and even enlists the help of other leaders in the church to help them work for peace.  As women, we have a bad habit of getting irritated with each and putting up walls.  Instead of working to reconcile, we avoid, gossip to others to justify ourselves, and allow balloons of dissension to grow in our heads.  We can begin to see a gal we once loved and worked alongside in ministry in a skewed way – always looking for the negative and reading into everything they say and do. Like the friends of Job we start assuming guilt instead of trusting in their good will.
  • Paul implores them not to let this disunity fester.  He reminds them that their names are all in the Book of Life.  He wants us to see other believers – even those who have hurt us – as His children.  We will all be in heaven together.  One of the enemies greatest tactics is getting women warring against each other instead of working together to spread the good news.
  • Verse four gives us a command – “rejoice in the Lord always.”  And he says it again “rejoice.”  He says it again because he knows what we want to say back… “How can we rejoice when we are mistreated?”  “How can we rejoice when people we love get cancer?”  “How can we rejoice when ____________?”   You fill in the blank.
  • He calls us to rejoice and then goes a step further asking us to be gentle – epieikes.  “Such words as gentle, yielding, kind, forbearing, and lenient are among the best English attempts, but no single word is adequate.  Involved is the willingness to yield one’s personal rights and to show consideration and gentleness to others.  It is easy to display this quality toward some persons, but Paul commands that it be shown toward all.” (Expositors Bible Commentary)
  • Rejoicing and gentleness go a long way in settling disagreements. I love that Paul commands us to get along but then helps us understand how to live in order to accomplish it. Rejoicing and gentleness bring healing, gossip and harsh words can break up the best of friends.

Application questions:

  • Who are you struggling to see the best in right now?  (your husband, your children, women at church, neighbors, friends?)
  • Is your attitude toward them one of reconciliation?  Are you willing to make the first move toward settling disagreements?
  • Have you observed two warring women in your life?  How can you come alongside them and help them work toward unity? Matthew 5:9 “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”
  • If those closest to you described you – would they say you are a woman who rejoices and is characterized by gentleness? (don’t ask my kids about yesterday… not a lot of gentleness around here with fighting siblings – praise God for new mercies for today)

Prayer

Adoration:  Praise God that He gives us practical help for daily life in His Word.

Confession: Admit your failures in handling your most current disagreement.

Thanksgiving:  Thank God for His healing power to restore the most broken of relationships.

Supplication: Ask God to reveal any steps you need to take in working toward peace in your life or in the lives of those around you.

 

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