Dr. Dan Coflin
Pastor, River of Life Church
Have you ever been involved in an auto accident? Most of us have and the results are always unpleasant. First there is the trauma of bodily injury that may disable us, at least for a season, to one degree or another. If we are fortunate enough to survive the crash without injury we still have to deal with the auto repair, the insurance coverage, car rental, towing and garage issues. Accidents can create a whole host of problems that consume our time and money.
While auto accidents were not a part of the Apostle Paul’s world or the church at Philippi to whom he wrote, Paul still warns of the problems caused by collisions. In Philippians 2:2 he writes, “I beseech Euodias and beseech Syntyche that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” The Greek word Paul uses here translated “beseech” carries the idea of begging, exhorting, entreating, or to try to appease by entreaty. In other words Paul was trying to get these women to come together and “be of the same mind.” Apparently, there was a strong disagreement between them and Paul knew the damage it could cause in the church.
Even the names of these women reveal the contention between them. Euodias means, “fine traveling” and Syntyche means “an accident”. When these two got together there was a collision that brought about trouble in the church.
Have you ever been traveling along and all is well until, suddenly someone brings strife and trouble into your home, business, workplace, or even ministry that upsets everyone involved? Your focus and energy is now expended on trying to restore peace and heal the breach instead of accomplishing the business at hand. Fortunately, we have instructions in the scriptures of how to handle just such a situation.
First of all we need to recognize where strife comes from. The Bible is not vague on this subject, “only by pride comes contention” (Pr. 13:10). Someone said, “pride makes excuses, but humility makes adjustments.” (unknown) We must take responsibility for our part in a contentious situation. Usually, people get their feelings hurt and become offended because of what someone else said or how their actions were perceived. We can choose to forgive those who offended us and humble ourselves before God. Our goal should always be to restore the relationship instead of defend ourselves. When we choose to walk in humility we receive the grace of God (His power, help and favor) for God, “resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jms. 4:6).
Secondly, we should know that the person who brought the hurtful words or actions is hurting himself or herself. Most people are not trying to be difficult, but are reacting out of their own past hurts and hardships. They are filled with fear and lash out to protect themselves not wanting to be hurt again.
The devil is real and his wicked plots are to divide and destroy, but we overcome him with the truth of God’s word and putting into practice his commands, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice: and be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31-32).
We may not be able to avoid all quarreling and disagreements, but if we know that the end result of strife is, “confusion and every evil work” (Jms. 3:16) we might be more likely to follow Paul’s admonition, which says, “as much as lives in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rm. 12:18).
We may collect some dents and dings in our fenders and have our paint scratched on occasion, but by walking humbly and in the love of God we can avoid painful and expensive collisions as we enjoy the journey on the road of life.
Dr. Dan Coflin and his wife Dianne co-pastor River of Life Church at 410 E. Chapman Rd. in Lutz, FL. 33549, (813) 949-9931, www.roltampa.org
We would love to invite you to visit River of Life Church. Our lively worship begins at 10:30am on Sunday. We are a non-denominational, spirit-filled ministry. Please honor us with your visit. We would love to have you!