Come On Sisters, Get It Worked Out Quickly!
"I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord."
We don't have any reason to believe that the church in Philippi was torn apart like Corinth, but here is a direct statement indicating two women were, in some way, at odds with each other.
It has been my observation, after many years in local churches, I don't care how big the church is, if two people are at odds, there is a good possibility it is disturbing more than just those two people. Bitterness, coldness, anger and wrath are impossible to conceal. And when such things are displayed or detected, it is discouraging and can have nothing but a bad influence.
Now I want you to imagine, you are one of these two. And at an assembly of the church one of the elders makes it known - "Epaphroditus has returned. He is well now and he brings to us this letter from Paul. Listen to this letter from Paul." The elder or Epaphroditus reads the letter aloud; you are one of these two individuals and you hear this. "I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord."
How would you feel? I would feel - first, shame, then MOTIVATION to get with the other person, and resolve the matter righteously.
Now look back in your Bible at verse 2 in Philippians 4, and I want to ask this: How many people are implored? Two. Both of them are addressed. I don't know exactly what the issue was between them - but Paul assigned to both of them, the responsibility to resolve the conflict. Some things you can't just ignore. There needs to be some outside or third party help or admonition. Have you ever heard this little quote? "To dwell above with the saints we love, O that will be glory; But to dwell below with the saints we know, that's a different story!"
It is highly possible, sometime in your life, to some extent - there will be some sort of conflict. The test of character is - do we seek to resolve it, and how do we resolve it, and how quickly do we seek to resolve it. I've had people come to me on various occasions through the years and say something like - I'm concerned that I have offended you, and I'm sorry. And I have no idea what they are talking about. I wasn't offended. I may remember something that was said but I took no offense. But listen - the attitude of being worried about it, and wanting to resolve it, is an attitude I honor; I really appreciate it.
Do you recall what Jesus said about this?
"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny," Matt. 5:23-26.
If you think it may help you in your reading and study in the future, underline this word, "Quickly." NIV: "Settle matters quickly with your adversary..."
Are you in one of these conflicts? Jesus says to you, "Quickly!" Get it settled.
By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 15.2; February 2008