Why can’t we just choose to agree with one another?
What is it about our human nature that causes us to demand that others pay attention and adhere to our cause, but fail to listen to another person’s point of view?
Why does everyone think they are right, even as some one thinks they are wrong?
Why can’t we get along?
Why won’t we choose to walk in another man’s or woman’s shoes and feel, sympathize and experience the road that they travel and tread?
But wait a minute, we protest.
We do agree with others; most of the time.
We do listen to others’ points of view; at least we try.
We don’t think we are right all the time; except when we are.
We do get along with people; especially those who think, act, and look like us.
We do care for those who are walking a long, difficult mile; the people who we love and are lovable.
We aren’t everyone, we say, but we are some one who is doing the best we can, right?
These are some of the thoughts and reflections that swirled in my mind as I read and focused on memorizing the words of Paul…
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellows, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3 NIV
These two women, believers of Christ, workers for His eternal cause, were not getting along and news of their disagreement had reached the ears, eyes, mind, and heart of Paul, their friend, who sat in a Roman prison cell. I imagine that being incarcerated in a prison cell has the potential to keep one’s priorities straight; to keep the main thing the main thing. So when Paul heard that two of his friends had allowed something to form a wedge between them; he exhorted these womean to lay down their offenses and remember the bond they shared in Christ. Not only that, Paul exhorted the loyal yokefellow, those in fellowship with Euodia and Syntyche, to help these women get it together.
I can relate to Paul in some ways. I ache when I hear that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are not getting along for one reason or another. It is never fun to receive news like that; especially when you are far, far away and can’t do much to help. Yet, we all have the potential to allow our noses to get out of joint and to think we are on the right side; especially when we want our own way wherever we are in the world.
This is what I thought as I read and altered the words of Paul today:
I plead with Everyone and I plead with Some One to agree with each other in the Lord.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellows, help our friends, Everyone and Some One who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with our companions in life who’ve experienced the good and bad with us, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3 NIV
Everyone has their side of the story.
However, some one always has a tale to tell with a different narration.
We were never meant to be the same, think the same, or demand the same.
Yet, in Christ, we were meant to agree and contend for the Gospel and to share the love of God and His love for others. We were meant to live with and alongside our friends and neighbors with the love, joy, strength and beauty found in Christ.
However, over time, in big things and in small things, we have the potential to lose sight of the main thing. Sitting in a prison cell, stripped of every comfort, privilege and security, Paul kept his sights squarely on his Savior and Lord. When the things of this world are taken way, when relationships are denied, when direction and purpose are turned upside-down, it is often then that our eyes focus once again on what is most important and true. However, when complacency settles upon us or we forget the relationship we forged in love, commitment, strength and beauty with some one and instead fight for our rights and demand our interests be acknowledged, it is then that divisions and disagreements form.
We can’t let that happen. We must keep the main thing, the main thing.
Paul wrote it this way, “If you have any encouragement from being united in Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship from his Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus” (NIV, Philippians 2: 1- 5).
Everyone needs encouragement from being united in Christ. Some one does too.
Everyone needs comfort from His love. Some one does too.
Everyone needs fellowship from the Spirit of Christ. Some one does too.
Everyone needs tenderness and compassion. Some one does as well.
Everyone needs to be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose with Christ. Some one else needs this like-mindedness, love, spirit, and purpose too.
Everyone needs to set aside their selfish ambition and vain conceit. Yes, Some one does too.
Everyone needs to consider their fellow man with humility and honor and take note of their interests and concerns. Some one needs to have the same consideration of others also.
Everyone’s attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus. Some one must choose the attitude of Christ for their life purpose as well.
There is a song that begins, “Everyone needs compassion, Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior, the hope of the nations.” Some one else does too.
We all need a Savior; everyone and some one.
Everyone needs forgiveness and some does too.
Everyone can choose humility and choose to reach out to some one, and that some one can reach back.
And we all can come alongside our friends to encourage them, pray for them, and help them to keep the main thing the main thing; being like-minded in purpose, in love, and in relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another.
Everyone and Some one…that’s all of us…all need a Savior. He is the One to whom we can choose to unite us. So who are you today? Are you Everyone or Some One? And how much does that matter if we keep the Main thing the Main thing and that is knowing Christ?
Photo by nHISpece1 of Flickr