Iron out your Differences

Iron out your differences . . . go to the Prince of Peace

Vol. 4, No. 11

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. –Philippians 4:2

Someone needs to help these women iron out their differences and make up. Heavens! You would think that Christians could just get along.

Whoops! Some of us just looked in the mirror!

We give medals to Olympic winners; watches to faithful employees after 25 years of service; a Christmas bonus (or at minimum a turkey); even honeymooners might get a trip to Hawaii. (Donna and I didn’t get that trip.)

What should we give to Euodia (odious) and Syntyche (soon-touchy)? Two women (not ladies) in the Philippian church with a longstanding feud. Two women who allowed a personal grievance to disrupt, divide, and cause schism in the “assembly.”

Two flies in the ointment.

Solomon wrote, Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

My, oh my! Members in the same fellowship that will not kiss and make up. Now, it could as well have been two men.

I have met these folks; so have you.

Many a church division or split begins with two people who cannot iron out their differences. They need to shake hands, ask for forgiveness, and get-with-it. Unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping the other person will die!

The unchurched and the unsaved know more about what is going on in your church than we often do!

This is Mickey Mouse stuff!! It is quarrelling over who should chair committees; dissension brewing over who heads the annual homecoming event; bearing grudges (that will soon explode) because a person gets more recognition than we get; or, bearing grudges because of someone having authority over you (or your Bible study class).

Perhaps one of these women had an exciting experience with the Holy Spirit and wants to brag about the attention; while the other is entrenched in the legalism of Calvin’s Institutes.

These are two sad-sacks, who were not spiritual infants, acting like spiritual infants. They were taking their dolls and going home! They were thought mature enough to labor alongside the church pastor in Gospel ministry. However, they could not, because they were focused on trifles. They were trained, but they set their training aside to attend to their grudges.

Yes, you have met these folks.

Paul hears about this “incorrigible” pair and their “irreconcilable” differences while he was in Rome. News travels. His reaction is like a dad with his children. It was not so much an over-the-knee spanking, tongue lashing, or public condemnation – it was a pleading, begging, and a lovingly beseeching. Be reconciled! He does not pamper or condescend to them. He deals with them.

Note what Paul said earlier:

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. –Philippians 2:2-3

Paul said what needed to be said to these two. He did not mince his words. Why do we?

This conversation is appropriate in the church; it is also appropriate in the family and the workplace. We might say we want peace, but we lack the movement to approaching the Prince of Peace – the only true place where peace is available.

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