Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two Disagreeable Ladies

"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord" (Philippians 4:2).

Here we have two women Paul respected and admired. Apparently these two ladies were good and active workers, but a dispute arose between them. Strife of any kind is regrettable but, when it is in the church, it is doubly so. Cooperation is essential to the health of any enterprise, religious or secular. Paul was most concerned for the peace of the church that these two ladies settle their differences in a Christ-like manner so the church could get on with larger issues.

Compromise isn't appeasement. Appeasement is trading a country for flattery, such as Chamberlain is supposed to have done in World War II. His diary gave him away: "Monday - I feel highly honored at being placed at the Captain's table; Tuesday - I spent the morning on the bridge with the Captain. He seemed to like me; Wednesday - The Captain made proposals to me unbecoming an officer and a gentleman; Thursday - The Captain threatened to sink the ship unless I agreed to his proposals; Friday - I saved six hundred lives!" How tragic for the world that one man's childish ego fell to such depths to avoid temporary trouble, if this account is true--which I doubt. How could anyone be that stupid!

Genuine compromise is the willingness to meet each other on our journeys. No church, home or business can thrive if each is traveling to the right or left and not even trying to find common ground. "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3). Mediation is civil meditation. It is the peacemaker and the reconciler. "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife..." (Proverbs 20:3); "Blessed are the peacemakers..." (Matthew 5:9); "There for those who promote peace" (Proverbs 12:20).

“One sure way of peacemaking is to let the fire of contention alone. Neither fan it, nor stir it, nor add fuel to it, but let it go out of itself.” (C. H. Spurgeon.) How difficult this is, especially for those with a rapier wit and a sensitive nature. But God is for us; therefore, we can go our way with His peace.

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