Philippians 4:2-3 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
This morning as I was coming in to get some coffee, I was talking with a woman whose granddaughter was sharing with her that she was enduring some “mean girling” at school. Her story continued about how the granddaughter ended her evening modeling for her family by praying for her frenemies before she went to bed. The Grandmother was elated that she had chosen to take these frenemies to Jesus in prayer despite all she had been through.
As I walked away, I couldn’t help but think of how many times I have talked with girls, and even girls my own age that have endured conflict, mean girling, or frenemy attacks. Girls of all ages at some point in their lives experience girl specific conflict issues—Even in the church!!! And this is apparently something that went on even during the early church. Philippians 4:2-3 shares this interesting blip of a story that the Girls minister in me gets really frustrated with because I want to know the story. I want to know how the true companion truly entered into this situation and got Euodia and Syntyche to share the mind of Christ.
It got me thinking…as a girls minister, oftentimes I step into that role of true companion. It becomes my role to help two girls (whatever the age) navigate the minefield of a tense situation. Sometimes I am in need of a true companion to help me and another “girl” come to grips with a sticky situation. So wherever you find yourself…either as Euodia/Syntyche or a true companion, here are some guidelines to help bring Christ to the center of the conflict.
1. Prayer. Do no underestimate the power of and the priority of prayer in girl conflict. It’s often times the last thing we may want to do, but venting to God versus venting to the world is the first thing that needs to happen. In these moments my prayers often turn from, “God they are wrong..they hurt me…” to “God I need a heart change. Help me to love them. They are hurting…”
2.Identify the root issue.
Why are you truly in conflict? It generally can be boiled down to some key areas… TERRITORY BATTLES, PERSONALITY CLASH, MISCOMMUNICATION, JEALOUSY, PAINFUL CIRCUMSTANCES/EXPERIENCES THAT GET UNEXPECTEDLY EXPOSED, ETC. Why is this important to identify? Oftentimes, conflict can be diminished or be resolved when we take the “PERSONAL” out of the situation for a moment and see what is really at work in the battle. Satan loves to DISCOURAGE, DIVIDE, DESTROY, DISTRACT, and DECEIVE. I try to run the conflict through these filters to help me determine how Satan may be trying to attack the relationship/situation.
3. Go to the person directly. (As opposed to going to everyone BUT the person.)
In a time where we tend to use texting or even email to handle conflict, it’s so important to go to the person where there is no barrier to prevent communication from happening authentically, honestly, and in real-time. Face to face is the most valuable bandwidth we have as humans. In addition, often digital confrontation only adds layers of miscommunication that can be wiped away when a face-to-face happens.
4. Proverbs 26:20 Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down.
One of the tendencies we have with conflict is to continue to “feed the fire”, whether in our own mind or to a crowd of onlookers. Resist the temptation, even in your own mind, to add wood to the fire of the situation.
5. Bring a “true companion” into the conversation
This True Companion mentioned in Philippians evidently is someone that Paul believes has the ability to bring Christ into the conversation and get these two women on the same page instead of having divided hearts towards each other. Sometimes if you are unable to bring Christ into the center of this thing, you need to bring in someone who can do that with you. So what does it mean to bring Christ into the situation? It’s not a Jesus Juke, or asking someone to Judge you. It’s asking someone whose heart is not being occupied with conflict to pray with the both of you and to help bring some resolution to the conflict.
6. PRAY SOME MORE.
I’m not naive. I know firsthand that conflict can sometimes clear up in a conversation, and other times it may linger for days/months/years. In those situations, continue to bring the person to Christ through prayer. I have seen what happens with a simple prayer like, “God..let Your Kingdom COME, and My Kingdom Go. Let your Will be done, and my will be undone.” The seeds of love begin to take root in unexpected places and the weeds of bitterness, hurt, pain, unfairness shrivel up and die from lack of watering. And sometimes…just sometimes…our Euodia’s or Syntyche’s become the sand paper that we needed in our lives that smooth off our rough edges.Tweet