Aren’t You….

Published on May 13th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Aren't You....

Aren’t You…

I was reading these verses today:

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these woman, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”  Phil 4:2,3

The good news is that their names will be forever in the Book of Life.  The bad news is that they will be forever associated with the fight they’re having.  Can’t you just picture it in heaven? You introduce yourself to Euodia and she gives you her name and before you can think about it you ask, “Aren’t you the one Paul mentions in Philippians?”  I know heaven is perfect but you wonder of Euodia won’t be just a little frustrated with that question?  Forever linked to a fight you had…hope it was worth it.

But that is really the point Paul is making.  It isn’t worth it.  In light of whom we are in Christ, in light of what is at stake in reaching others, and in light of our meeting Jesus and receiving our joy and crown…no fight in the family of God is worth it.  That is why Paul does not mention what the fight is about. Is it about doctrine?  A wrong done?  A rude comment?  A slight?  A personality conflict?  It doesn’t matter to Paul.  He just tells them to get along in the Lord.  You don’t have to agree with everything.  Everything does not need to be fair and equitable.  You don’t have to particularly like each other…but you have the Lord in common, so fix this.  He doesn’t even tell them how to fix it.  Being in the Lord is enough motivation and enough to fix whatever the problem is…so fix it.  Paul certainly seems to be more Dr. Phil than Oprah.  He even encourages his true companion to get involved.  He doesn’t tell us who the true companion is; I believe that is so we can insert our name there… “Hey, Ed, don’t just sit there and watch these two women fight…go help them fix this.”  There is no way, with all that Christ has done and with all that is at stake, that brothers and sisters in Christ should be fighting.  If being “in the Lord” is not enough to mend our relationships then maybe we should check our “in the Lord” status.

I find myself arguing with Paul just a little bit here.  I know I am going to lose because he is writing under the inspiration of the Lord and I am simply trying to avoid having to get involved.  I even quoted a verse, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.”  Prov 26:17.  Hah, take that Paul.  I can’t get involved with them because it is not my fight!  Problem is that I can hear Paul, “It is not your fight but they are your brothers and sisters and Jesus called us to all live in unity.  It may not be your fight but it is your responsibility.  I am not asking you to get involved in the fight; I am asking you to help them see that being in the Lord is greater than their fight.”  Paul makes a great point (ok, this imagined conversation is getting weird).  Relationships are messy.  Problems in a relationship can be very multifaceted and complicated.  Paul does not tell us to sit down and try to arbitrate some kind of solution to the multifaceted and complicated problem.  That is often dangerous and puts you in the middle of something you are unable to solve.  He does ask us, though, to help.  Help put their fight into perspective of the work of Christ and all of eternity. Names written in the book of life will live together for one purpose for all of eternity.  That purpose is to glorify and worship God forever.  How does your fight fit into that purpose?

Unity of the body of Christ is essential.  Paul, being a former Pharisee, knew how to control people and how to use disunity to manipulate people.  Paul saw in the work of the cross the power of the love of God to bring all peoples together.  Prolonged fighting, we can’t help but have a spat or two from time to time, holds no place in the family of God.

 

 

 

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