Monday, October 3, 2016

OCTOBER 3 "CONFLICT BETWEEN TWO SISTERS?"

Many Christians are "fruitless or spiritually childless". They've never lead anyone to Christ, normally don't engage in that arena of evangelism, they just come to Church on Sundays and lead a decent, Christian, moral life. They have never really dealt with the heartache of investing in someone that turns on you or walks away, back into their life of sin and destruction, but neither do they know the "joy" of fruit, the joy of being used by God to see another life transformed, right before your eyes; and make Heaven their home. Paul writes, "friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work".  If you have ever labored in this area you will find how true this statement is. As much as I've been hurt, I must also say, that many, many good relationships, that became a great blessing to me, were from fruit that I labored for. My joy, when nothing else is going right, is in them and they are the crown for all my work too!  How about you? That being said, nothing hurts us more than watching 2 people we love, devour each other. The fact is two Christians, that each love God can still have severe disagreements and conflict.Paul knows both these sisters personally. Each of these women, Euodia and Syntyche, are Paul's fruit, have become his friends and have each been a blessing to him and a help in his ministry. Paul sees the good in Eudia and he sees the good in Syntyche. Paul does not take sides, he doesn't try to point out who's wrong and who's right, because chances are, neither is right or wrong, it's just a conflict of opinion, misunderstanding or gossip. Paul's desire is that they would just resolve their conflict and that those in the church would somehow help. It grieves us to see the people we love fight with each other especially when we can see the good in each of them, if only they would see what we see. Church members are constantly getting in petty fights and arguments, trying to turn the Pastor or other Church members against the one they are in conflict with. The problem is, we, like Paul, looking from the outside in, see both, as good Christians and we wonder why they so dislike each other.  Paul writes, these are both good sisters who have labored with me and whose names are written in The Book of Life, if only they would see that....Who are you fighting with, who are you in conflict with? Do you see that sister, that individual with horns on her head, do you see her as an enemy, arch-rival, is she a "she-devil?" The problem is we don't see her like that and we don't see you like that. And even more important, neither does Jesus. It grieves us when our children fight; as we love them both and see the qualities in each of them and we wish they would only see that themselves and stop fighting. We grieve God when we fight, we grieve God when we slander one of his daughters that He loves so much. We make our conflicts personnel and begin to slander and question other people's salvation, their motives and their heart and we cross the line. We grieve God and we grieve the Church that watches, discouragingly at two sisters who simply cannot get along, and love each other, when we see the good in both of them.  We never find out if these two sisters, in our text, reconcile or if they just continue to fight and grieve God and grieve their Church or if one of them ends up leaving the Church to go to another, as tragic as that would be. I can get up Sunday mornings and leave for Church with so much excitement and enthusiasm for the day and leave Church on Sundays depressed and discouraged because there was fighting amongst two sisters, two brothers or a brother and sister. This is not what I went to Church for, do they not realize that, do they not care that their fighting brings everyone down with them? They are so consumed by their hatred or animosity that it just rides right over and crushes the Holy Spirit who is standing in their way, saying "stop, stop, you're destroying everything I'm trying to do". I hope these two sisters reconciled and I hope so do you because it really does grieve God and your Church, that you say you love so much, be reconciled with each other, stop fighting, settle your disagreements! "Don't tell me what to do!", you say.  Well I'm not, read God's word, He's telling you, not me, will you listen to Him?