“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:2-7)
In the church at Philippi there were two women who were just not getting along. We don’t know what the problem was, but Paul felt their quarrel was such a negative witness, that he needed to give them advice on loving – and give it quick. These four verses, so often used in a different context, were actually written to address an issue of getting along with each other.
Paul doesn’t just tell these women to stop, he spells out to them how to change: “Euodia! Syntyche! You must cultivate a spirit of thankfulness for each other! It will transform your relationship!” We don’t have to like each other, but God wants us to be thankful for each other. He knows how difficult others can be; He understands your frustration; but He also knows the far-reaching destructiveness of bitterness and resentment.
Read these verses again, in the context of you not getting along with someone:
Rejoice in the Lord always(even when He brings someone into your life you don’t like)
- Let your gentleness be evident to all(be nice to them anyway)The word Paul uses for gentleness here means “not having a fighting spirit”.
- The Lord is near(He is aware of your feelings and wants to be drawn in to help; don’t shut Him out of the conflict)
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (don’t gossip, tell God what you would like to happen) (and no, striking them dead is not an option)
- And (when you love this way) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I have put these verses into practice over two relationships. It’s a principle that works.
Personal Prayer Response:“Lord, thank you for ________________. Let me see ___________ as YOU see them. Give me grace to be nice even though they aren’t nice to me. Take my anxiety over this relationship. Accept my thanksgiving for your grace toward both myself and ______________. Guard my heart with your peace over this. I choose to rejoice!”
—Submitted by Audrey Jose
(Audrey is on the Lifesprings Leadership Team and is our Director of Training, currently focusing on Conflict Transformation. She and her husband Bryan divide their time between Canada, Albania, and Cambodia, training and encouraging national church leaders in church planting and missions.)