Cat Fight!

I love how Scripture includes inspiring acts of heroism but at the same time doesn’t cover up the warts and messiness of real life. Take for instance how we get a sneak peek into a conflict between two women in the church at Philippi: Eudia and Syntyche.

We really don’t know much about them other than the fact that they were not in agreement with one another. I’ve never seen a “cat fight” between two women, and I hope I never have to witness one, but that’s what I think of every time I read this passage.

Help those women!

It must’ve been pretty ugly and public for the Apostle Paul to send out word to one of the elders there to “Help these women . . .” (Philippians 4:2 –3) to come together in unity.

Paul was urging his “true companion” (probably an elder of the church at Philippi) to serve these sisters as a peacemaker. Why was Paul placing such a priority on this situation to call out their names publicly? And why did the Holy Spirit inspire him to place this in a letter that is included in the canon of Scripture?

I think that’s worth checking out.

If you’ve been in a church very long, you’ve probably witnessed a “Eudia” or a “Syntyche” in action. You know what I mean: the cutting remarks, the glares across the room, the cold disposition and argumentative spirit. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, but when there’s a division within a church it puts the entire body out of whack:

[box]For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ . . . but God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 24–25).[/box]

An Impaired Body

Picture a man with a deformed arm trying to row a boat. He wouldn’t be able to get very far with only one arm working effectively. Similarly, when one member is hurting, it affects the entire body. And when there is an unresolved conflict in the body of Christ, it hinders our effectiveness in fulfilling His purpose for the Church.

As the body of Christ, we’re to work in unity to accomplish His mission for us: filling the earth with His glory. But when division starts pulling a body apart, we’re trying to function in an impaired state, trying to fulfill a holy calling while a lot of junk is weighing us down.

Paul’s appeal for someone to serve as a peacemaker is an appeal to us as well. 

Is there a conflict you are aware of where you might be able to serve as a peacemaker?

How have you seen God work to break down dividing walls and bring unity to a church body?

Originally posted 10.08.12 at