My husband and I had recently moved into our house when a man dropped off a large box of strawberries on our front sidewalk. He left a note saying he wanted us to share them with our neighbors. He meant well, but some children discovered the box before any adults did and had a strawberry-throwing party at our white house. When we returned home, we saw children we knew watching us from behind a fence. They had “returned to the scene of the crime” to see how we would react to the mess. We could have just cleaned it up ourselves, but to restore our relationship, we felt it was important to talk with them and require their help in cleaning our strawberry-stained house.

Life can get messy with relationship struggles. This was the case in the Philippian church. Two faithful servants, Euodia and Syntyche, were in sharp disagreement. The apostle Paul wrote to the church to encourage them to work through their problems (Phil. 4:2). He also wanted another person to come alongside them with a spirit of gentleness. He wrote, “I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel” (v.3).

Realizing we’ve all made messes in life, we can trust the Lord to help us deal gently with others.