Ever get a song stuck in your head you donâ€™t know the lyrics to? Please say it’s not just me. It seems like the songs that I donâ€™t know the words to are the songs that are hardest to get out of my head. Can you remember a song with the lyric, â€œCos Breaking Up is Hard to do-oooâ€¦â€? If you do, fill me in on the rest of the lyrics, because it seems like once my brain finds out the rest of the lyrics, it stops hitting repeat on the track.
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, itâ€™s kind of a big, fat, yucky lie.
Sometimes I think itâ€™s a good idea to point out the fact that something is a lie. Agreed?Â Sure, â€˜breaking upâ€™ can be difficult, but if weâ€™re honest, I think staying together is a lot more difficult.
Thereâ€™s this brief mention in Philippians 4 of these two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Paul encourages them to â€œbe of the same mind in the Lord.â€ And then he encourages 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? Looks a bit like scaling Everest sometimes.
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? Could it be because breaking up is easier to do than staying, fighting it out, and working it out?
Paulâ€™s solution was pretty simple. He’d already encouraged them to avoid foolish disputes and those things which were unprofitable. This time he also 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.
And at this point I had to stop and say wow — what a beautiful thought. What if we consistently worked at being blessed peacemakers instead of sassy side-takers? How different would things look? How much more healthy would our congregations be if we endeavored not only to be at peace with one another ourselves, but if we also endeavored to help others be at peace with one another?
Then Paul went on to speak about rejoicing in the Lord, and went so far as to repeat himself: â€œI will say it again, Rejoice!â€
What was that all about?
Perhaps he meant to instruct the church that if we focus on all the things we have to rejoice about â€” our lives, our salvation, the goodness of God that has been displayed in our every waking day, and in our fellowship with one another â€” we might realise that even though we have issues and differences, in the light of the goodness of God, in light of the forgiveness weâ€™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.
Paul continued by telling the Philippians to trust God with all their concerns: by prayer and supplication, with thankfulness, to receive Godâ€™s peace, which can give minds and hearts rest, even when understanding isn’t readily available. Before he concluded this, he instructed the church to focus on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report.
Translation: 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.Â And when our brothers or sisters are struggling to be at peace with one another, think about how to actively work toward peace.
If we meditate on the good, the God of peace will be with us.
He’ll be present in our own hearts. He’ll bring unity to our congregations.
And that sounds like something worth fighting for.
The Sermon in a Nutshell:Â The world’s got enough side-takers! Keep your peace of mind by keeping the right focus, and aim at being a peacemaker!
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— Adapted from the Archives