ODJ: Work It Out

July 24, 2018 

READ: Philippians 4:1-9 

I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement (v.2).

Petty differences, grudges and jealousies were affecting a church’s staff. They didn’t fellowship with one another—working secluded in their offices behind closed doors. When they had to communicate, it was short and to the point. On Sundays, however, they pasted on happy faces in front of the congregation. Their inability to deal with conflict resulted in a poisonous work environment for the entire staff and hampered effective ministry.

In his letter to the Philippian church, the apostle Paul pleaded with Euodia and Syntyche to settle their conflict (Philippians 4:2). These two women had worked alongside Paul to share the good news of the gospel with others (v.3). But for some reason a disagreement had become so out of hand that it prompted Paul to publicly beg them to work out their differences. He wanted their relationships to reflect the truth of the gospel (v.1). Notice that Paul addressed the conflict. He didn’t pretend it wasn’t there, downplay it or avoid it.

Maybe you’re in the midst of a church conflict. You’ve been wronged, treated unfairly or misrepresented. Perhaps you’re considering walking away from the church or indulging in a personal form of vengeance or payback. Instead of pulling away, through God’s strength, could you heed Paul’s admonition to do your best to pursue what’s “honourable” and “admirable”? (v.8).

Conflict resolution is hard work—requiring humility and a commitment to love others, including fellow believers who may be acting more like enemies. Humility and love can only come from relying on the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) and the wisdom of other believers. May God provide the wisdom you need to address conflict in a way that honours Him.

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Matthew 17:24-18:6

Read Romans 12:18-19.Have you done “all that you can” to be at peace with others? 
What can keep you from striving to deal with conflict? Why is addressing conflict the loving thing to do?