"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"
"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 to 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
(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.
He beseeches them separately, and treats them with exactly the same
(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.