Does a song ever get in your head that you don’t know the lyrics to? It happens to me all the time. And a lot of times it seems the songs that I don’t know the words to are the songs that are hardest to get out of my head. Can anybody remember a song with some lyric in it that goes, “Cos Breaking Up is Hard to do-ooo…”? Please help me out. I’d really like to get rid of this skipping record in my head.

As a result of a conversation the other day, or something, I started thinking about that lyric. And I came to the conclusion that, in a way, it’s kind of a big, fat, yucky lie. Sometimes I think it’s a good idea to point out the fact that something is a lie. Sure, ‘breaking up’ is difficult sometimes, but if we’re honest, I think staying together is a lot more difficult.

The Break UpThere’s this brief mention in Philippians 4 of these two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Paul is encouraging them to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” And he continues by urging other people in the church to help them sort their mess out. Apparently they were diligent leaders in the church, setting examples and serving God with passion, but when they had a disagreement, it threatened to tear the congregation apart. Breaking up might be hard, but sticking it out and sorting through your differences is a lot harder.

Why are so many churches splitting these days? Why are so many marriages ending? Why are life-long friendships getting dropped cold? Why are awesome rock bands calling it quits? I think it’s because breaking up is a little easier to do than staying, fighting it out, and working it out. Paul’s solution was pretty simple. He had previously encouraged them to avoid foolish disputes and those things which were unprofitable. He encouraged them to work it out, so that they could be of the same mind, in unity and purpose again. And he asked other people in the church to step up and help them work through their differences. (How beautiful does that sound? For people to step up as blessed peacemakers instead of sassy side-takers!) He went on to speak about rejoicing in the Lord, and went so far as to repeat himself: “I will say it again, Rejoice!”

What was all that about? I think perhaps if we remember the positives, and all the things we have to rejoice about — our lives, our salvation, the goodness of God that has been displayed in our every waking day, and in our fellowship with one another — we might realise that even though there may be some significant issues to be worked through when we have differences, in the light of the goodness of God, and in light of the forgiveness we’ve received, we have so much cause to be forgiving of others, and to make every effort to work through our differences and find peace again.

As he continues, Paul admonishes the Philippians to trust God with all their concerns, by prayer and supplication, with thankfulness, and to receive God’s peace, which can give our minds and hearts rest, even when we don’t have all the understanding we would like to have. And before he concludes this section, he makes the wonderful encouragement that we focus on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Instead of mulling over the things that are bothering us, we should count our blessings. Instead of recalling old situations to try to remember if we should take offense, mull over the goodness that God has displayed toward us.  If we meditate on the good, Paul says the God of peace will be with us. In our own hearts, and bringing unity to our congregations. And that sounds like something worth fighting for.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: There’s so much ‘breaking up’ in the world today. When you next find yourself in the midst of disagreement, I hope these thoughts can provide you with the encouragement to stick it out, talk it out, fight it out, and eventually work it out. The path of most resistance is often the one we ought to take.