Wednesday, March 21, 2012


"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 leaders and 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.

True 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 is ... joy for those who promote peace" (Proverbs 12:20).

"It is a grim thought that all we know about Euodia and Syntyche is that they were two women who had quarreled! It makes us think. Suppose our life was to be summed up in one sentence, what would that sentence be? Clement goes down to history as the peacemaker; Euodia and Syntyche go down as the breakers of the peace. Suppose we were to go down in history with one thing known about us, what would that one thing be?" (William Barclay).

Dr. Johnstone gives us the mode of Paul's interference that we might all heed:

(1) He makes not the slightest reference to the cause of dissension. In most cases reconciliation is more likely to be effected by letting the matter sleep and die.
(2) From his apostleship and relations with the Philippians he might have been much bolder in Christ to enjoin them that which was convenient; yet for love's sake he rather beseeches them.
(3) He beseeches them separately, and treats them with exactly the same consideration.
(4) He calls in a common friend to help them to a reconciliation (verse 3), a thoroughly discreet friend of both could do not a little to smooth the way...This is a form of delicate work, and is often shunned; yet none more likely to produce blessed results.

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