EXPECT CONFLICT

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:2,3

“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, 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.” (Philippians 4:2,3)

Conflict is inevitable because we are all fallen people. We must remember the words of Scripture — “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We will disappoint one another and we will sin against one another. We will disagree over things and we will have conflict. No one is exempt from it. What is important is that we deal with conflict when it occurs and seek to be reconciled with one another.

The members of the church at Philippi were not exempt from conflict. Two of the members, Euodia and Syntyche, were experiencing some sort of conflict with each other. We are not sure what the conflict was, but it was serious enough for Paul to address the matter in this epistle.

It is evident that these two women were committed to the gospel. They had worked side by side with Paul. They were godly women who were committed to serving the Lord and His church. The point is that even godly people can have conflict. We must expect it and not be surprised by it.

Ideally, when people face conflict, those directly involved in the conflict should seek to resolve it themselves and seek to be at peace with one another. “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19). Each party is to seek to resolve the conflict as much as they can — “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

However, there are times when a third party is needed. The conflict with these two women is an example. Paul asked on one of the other members of the church to intervene and help these women resolve the conflict. Sometimes it takes a third party to help those who are having conflict to see the real issue and to help them take steps to resolve it.

The key to resolving conflict is “to agree in the Lord.” In other words, we are to seek God’s will in every matter and yield to it. In some cases, it may be difficult to find specific directions from God’s Word. But we must always remember these words when we face conflict — “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31,32).

Lord Jesus, give me wisdom when I face conflict. Enable me to have your mind and heart. Let me deal with it in humility as I seek Your will in the matter. Grant me grace to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. You have forgiven me so many times. Dare I not be a forgiving person.

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