A Legacy of Conflict

February 02, 2010

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

(This is the first in a series of posts from Philippians 4 on dealing with church conflict).

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Phil. 4:2

Have you ever noticed that people don’t tend to name their daughters after these two particular New Testament church members?  I mean you’ll find plenty of Peters, James’, Stephens, Philips, Lidias, Priscillas, and even a few Dorcas’ and Cornelius’, but you’ll have a hard time finding a child named after Euodia or Syntyche.  That is because parents tend to name their children something that is positive or that has a strong legacy behind it.  Most parents do not name their children after people with a bad legacy.  And that is exactly the kind of people Euodia and Syntyche were.

euodia-and-syntyche

Euodia and Syntyche as children

We know practically nothing else about these two women except for the fact that they apparently could not get along.  They may have been critically important founding members of the Philippian church.  They may have had sons who went on to become wonderful pastors or teachers.  Who knows, they may have been teachers themselves.  They may have been wealthy contributors to the work of the church or key figures in the women’s ministry there.  They may have been beloved prayer warriors or wise members of the personnel committee.  They may have been any or all of these things, or perhaps none of them at all.  We simply do not know.  But forever and ever, as long as the kingdom of God is around, everyone will remember Euodia and Syntyche for one thing and one thing only: they could not get along with each other.

How’s that for a legacy?

In my work as a church mediator, I have had occasion to work with all kinds of churches, big & small, city & country, and every imaginable evangelical denomination.  Unfortunately, the ones that often stick out in my memory are the “repeat offender” churches.  You know them.  They are the ones who have fired their last several pastors and continue to live in a state of denial about it.  They are like the friend who has been married and divorced 4 or 5 times and continues to say about it, “Can you believe my bad luck?”  They are churches who, more than any other thing, are leaving a legacy of conflict.  Like our friends Euodia and Syntyche, all that will be remembered about them is this horrible legacy.

So what is my point?  I suppose it is simply to encourage you to leave a better legacy than this.  Don’t let your testimony be remembered as the guy (or girl) who was hard to get along with.  But even more importantly, don’t let that be your church’s testimony either.  If your church is a “repeat offender” church, do something to help them see that and get on a healthy track.  Change the culture, before your name goes down in God’s big book right next to Euodia and Syntyche.

© Blake Coffee

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4 thoughts on “A Legacy of Conflict

  1. John T

    Great post. When I was in Bible College, I had a professor that taught about these two women and gave us his version of their names so that we would never forget them. Euodias was “You Oughta See Us” and Syntyche was “So Touchy.” I have never forgetten them.

    Reply
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