Friends are wonderful. It's great to have people in your life that share some common connection and positive chemistry with you. Being together with a friend is something you look forward to and enjoy. You add to each other's life. Friends are a blessing and a gift.
Sadly, however, sometimes friendships face challenges. Something happens in the relationship and things change. Feelings get hurt, trust is broken, motives are questioned and communication become painful. Walls go up and former friends are estranged, and even worse, become enemies.
Paul, a leader of the early church, gave a lot of attention to relationship issues in his teachings. He frequently reminded Christian believers of the traps and pitfalls of bad feelings and behavior toward one another. Sometimes he got very specific. In some situations he even called out people by name, addressing their disagreements and division.
This was the case when he wrote to the church in a place called Philippi. Two ladies in the church who had been great friends at one time were now at odds with each other. They had an unsettled disagreement. Their disagreement had isolated them from each other and was affecting other people around them.
Take a look at Paul's straightforward instructions, and slight rebuke, to them:
Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. — Philippians 4:2 (NLT)
And now I want to plead with those two dear women, Euodias and Syntyche. Please, please, with the Lord's help, quarrel no more– be friends again. — Philippians 4:2 (The Living Bible)
Paul was deeply concerned about what these ladies had allowed to come between them. If you read further in Philippians 4 you'll discover that these women had once been great friends and had worked together — side-by-side — serving God and the church. Their relationship plummeted for some reason. Over time they moved from cooperating with each other to contending with each other.
We don't know what happened that led to this separation. All we know is that they were former friends who had become foes. They once had been close, but no longer had a relationship.
What was Paul's guidance to them. He told them to “re-friend” each other. This meant that they would have to drop their offenses, whatever they were, and forgive. They had to willingly lay down their “right to be right” about their disagreement, reconcile and move forward together again.
How about you? What friendship has dissolved because of some disagreement? Are you hurt and angry at your former friend? Have you closed your heart to them? Have you shut them out and determined to write them off?
Perhaps it's a time to take a step toward them again. You can do something, even if it's a small thing, that will start healing the hurt and begin rebuilding the trust between you. Be the one to take the first step toward “re-friending!”
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