August 30, 2018
READ: Philippians 4:1-7
Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement (v.2).
The ceasefire began with the sound of singing on the battlefield. It was Christmas Eve 1914, along the Western Front of the fighting in WWI. German soldiers alternated singing Christmas carols with their enemies—British, Belgian and French soldiers. This goodwill spilled into the next day, when fighters emerged from the trenches, unarmed. They introduced themselves and exchanged small gifts. Reflecting on that experience, one veteran said, “If we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired.” A short break in hostility allowed the soldiers to see their opponents as people, not merely enemies.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul encouraged a ceasefire between two female leaders in the early church. By listing the women’s names—Euodia and Syntyche (4:2)—Paul probably intended to not only grab their attention but remind them that they were both individuals made in God’s image, not merely two opposing sides.
Paul emphasised the spiritual and relational aspect of their problem: “Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement” (v.2). These women shared something critical—faith in Christ. And they’d both worked hard and effectively to share the good news (v.3). Because they had this common goal, they had great reason to work out their differences.
Disagreements often present us with two options: settle for ongoing conflict, or try to learn about and appreciate others’ differences. It’s in everyone’s best interest to pursue the better choice (Romans 12:18). Even when settling a conflict seems hopeless, opening ourselves to the possibility of peace can allow us to experience God’s work in the situation and in our hearts.
365-day plan: John 12:20-36
Read Romans 5:1 and consider the great price God paid to have peace with us.
To what degree does your peace with God affect your relationships with others? How might praying for your enemies help you find peace with them?