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.Philippians 4:2-3 NIV
Euodia and Syntyche! What do we know about them? They were two Christian women who lived in the city of Philippi during the middle of the first century A.D. They were faithful believers who had contended at Paul’s side for the gospel. Their names were in the book of life. And they didn’t get along.
Apparently, their disagreement had become so great that Paul had heard of it in Rome. Was their disagreement threatening to divide the church? We don’t know. But Paul pleads with them to be of one mind in the Lord. And he asks others to help them to resolve their differences. It was a significant issue that needed to be dealt with.
Why Can’t We Just Get Along?
It is unfortunate that this disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche is not an isolated incident. It has been repeated countless times in the history of the church. And it’s not just crabby old women who are at fault.
Try getting into a theological discussion with someone who does not share your views. Chances are better than even that it will become contentious. And may well cause division. All the reasons for that are beyond my expertise. But it seems like personalities and the need to be right contribute greatly. Of course, sometimes theological differences should divide us. But all too often, we divide over lesser issues with equally valid positions.
And it’s not just theology that causes friction. It could be as simple as the color of the paint in the sanctuary. Pews versus chairs. Music styles. Crying babies. Or any number of traditions that we hold sacred.
But whatever the cause, Paul tells us to just stop it. Get along. Be of one mind in the Lord. That does not mean that we have to agree on everything. Even on our theological positions. There is a place for discussion and debate. But we should not allow that to divide us. Work together as one body in the Lord.