Several years ago while serving at my first church, I got called into the pastor’s office. When I arrived I noticed that sitting in the room with my pastor was the Chairman of Deacons & another church member. I was young, so I thought I was going to be congratulated, or get a raise. Did that happen? Nope!
Instead the church member that was in the meeting began to list out all the things she didn’t like about me. From the way I ministered to people, to the way I dressed, even the way I lead from the stage. When I heard all the negative things she was saying about me, I was so hurt and angry. Even worse, I never talked to her about these issues she had with me, and I held on to all that hurt and anger for several months. I allowed her words, and her perception of me to paralyze me. Every time I would see her in the church, I would avoid her. It was uncomfortable and unbiblical.
In yesterday’s post, I wrote on how to Repeat The Sounding Joy…All Year Long! According to Philippians 4 we should STAND FIRM IN THE LORD. Here is the second way.
SETTLE YOUR DIFFERENCES
Philippians 4:2-3 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Paul was dealing with a difficult problem inside the Philippian church. He had two leading women in the church that couldn’t get along with each other. Paul doesn’t give us very many details of the women or the dispute. What he does give us is how he encouraged the two ladies and the church to keep the joy alive! He exhorts these two Christian women to settle their differences. Paul tells the two women to “agree in the Lord”—which literally means to come to one mind. We also know that this dispute is severe enough for Paul to ask a companion/mediator to help these women settle their differences.
Paul wanted to do whatever it took to help these women settle their differences so they could get back to the Gospel of Jesus. Paul regards these women as genuine believers (their names are written in the book of life.
Why is Paul going to such lengths to get his church to settle their differences? It’s because he knew that holding on to anger allows Satan an entry point to our heart where he can steal our joy and hinder the spreading of the Gospel.
The experience I had at my first church, led me to hold on to hurt and anger, and it affected me in a negative way. Like I said, it was uncomfortable and unbiblical. A few years ago, I found out the lady that has issues with me passed away. I never got the opportunity to settle my differences with her. I never got the opportunity to work on our relationship for the sake of the Gospel. I wish I had!
As we draw close to a New Year, think about the state of your relationships.
Is there anything you need to work on with someone you know?
Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Do you need to forgive someone?
If so, don’t end this year and begin a new one without making a sincere effort to settle your differences. Forgive, work at it, and if needed, bring someone along with you to help
There is no way we can experience true joy all year-long with unresolved anger and differences with another Christian.