God's word in today's world

Hitches and glitches

Philippians 4:1-9

I can think of hundreds of examples where the children of the Lord gained lots of ground for the Kingdom simply to lose it all when stepping into a big hole along the way. All the good work deleted in one stroke.

It seems as if the same had happened with Euodia and Syntyche. The disagreement between threatened to draw a line through their good work. Therefore, Paul called on his good friends to assist: 3 And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.

A beautiful testimony about the women who worked so hard for God, but now a disagreement between them threatened to destroy it all. It’s obvious who was behind it all. We know the devil would do anything possible to separate people. One small disagreement. Probably neither wanted to give in. Now there was a coldness between them. Chances were that it would freeze if a solution could not be found. This was serious. Paul could see the potential consequences and intervened.

Unfortunately, nobody is exempt from this. We have to recognize that all relationships are in the danger zone so that we can prepare for trouble. Minor disagreements have caused many relationships to fail. Probably neither Euodia nor Syntyche wanted to give in, with the result that not only them, but also the Gospel suffered.

Sometimes it’s better to look at the bigger picture. Is it really worth it not to give in? How big is the price that will be paid? What will the effect be on God’s world and work? Sometimes we have to be big enough to give in so that the bigger picture will remain in place.

But more than that, sometimes we even have to go and help others, said Paul. Sometimes we’re sitting on the sidelines, seeing a different picture from the players on the field. They’re so involved in playing the game that they lose perspective. At times like these the coach sends the water boy onto the field with a message for the players to tell them they are messing up and should get back to the game plan.

Paul is actually instructing each of us: 3 And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. We can’t sit back saying nothing if we see our friends or fellow believers losing direction. Maybe they’re not realizing what impact it has. Maybe they’re blinded by the moment and need you to give them perspective again.

I’m surprised to hear how often people talk about negative things. Now this one has done this and the other one that. No, don’t let us spread negative news; let us rather focus on the positive. Let’s see where we can help one another.


Where are the hitches in your relationships?

What is grating?

What do you think you should do?


Father, please help us to work and live together with love. Please help us not to encourage strife and keep clinging stubbornly to our own ideas and our own will. Help us to put others first so that love can win. Amen

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