Today is observed in many countries as International Conflict Resolution Day. Its purpose is to encourage people to use mediation and arbitration rather than the legal system to settle their differences. Because we as followers of Christ are not immune to conflict, we need to learn how to resolve our disagreements in ways that honor the Lord.
It has been said that “church fights are the worst fights,” perhaps because they break out among people who profess to believe in unity and love. Many Christians have been so hurt by a fellow believer that they walk away from the church and never return.
Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned by name in the Bible and urged to resolve their differences: “Be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). Instead of leaving them alone to settle their dispute, Paul appealed to a trusted fellow worker to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel” (v.3). In this same context, Paul urged the Philippians to bring their requests to God, noting that prayer brings the peace of God (v.7) and a sense of His abiding presence (v.9).
Fractured relationships in a Christian community are a community responsibility. In the midst of hurts and differences, we can encourage, listen, and pray.