I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow,
help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel….”
The words on the computer screen stung like a whip striking out of nowhere, biting and tearing at my heartstrings. What had I said to deserve this? A seemingly innocuous comment had provoked a harsh and unexpected response. My first impulse was to strike back.
Just as I began to formulate my answer, the phone stopped me. On the other end I heard the voice of my sister, and loyal yokefellow. She listened to the angry words I had planned to reply with, and answered me in her gentle way, with a reminder of what our dad used to say. He always said that no matter what anyone else does, it is our responsibility to do the right thing.
I was reminded of these two women in the Philippians with the unpronounceable names, Euodia and Syntyche. These were Christian women who had obviously worked hard alongside Paul for the sake of the gospel. They must have had an ongoing dispute that was affecting other people for him to address it publicly, yet he only gives two verses to the matter. Agreeing with one another in the Lord means to set aside our own feelings in order to do what pleases Him—make God and His kingdom the priority.
With the help of my sister, I formulated an answer that addressed the circumstances which had more than likely provoked the angry response. I offered to pray for the person that had hurt me, and thanked them for a recent kindness that I had planned to ignore in the light of their hurtful words.
It was not easy, doing the right thing seldom is. But you will have the satisfaction of knowing that perhaps God worked through you to ease a hurt you don’t even understand, and at the least, you did the right thing. I guaranty it will change your heart attitude and allow you to grow and perhaps look differently at what you say and do that might be perceived as hurtful by others.
Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. Do not use without written permission of the author.