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When You Have to be a Mediator
by Tom Goodman
May 2, 2012

If you're expecting a boy and looking for a good name, how about Syzygus?

No, I didn't think so.

Still, it's a perfectly good name.  It's Greek for "partner," and for the good of the gospel it needs to be our nature even if it's not our name.

Paul once addressed two battling believers by name:  "I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord." (Philippians 4:2)  And then in the third verse he turned to a third person and said, "Help these two women make peace."  Various Bible translations will either refer to this third party by an honored title ("partner") or by a proper name ("Syzygus").

Sometimes we're in a quarrel like the one between Euodia and Syntyche.  Sometimes we see a quarrel as Syzygus did.  Either way, we have a role to play.

Sometimes we're in a quarrel, as Euodia and Syntyche were.  Ironically enough, neither one lived up to their names.  Do you know what "Euodia" means?  "Eu" means "good" and "odia" is where we get the word "odor."  So, "Euodia" means fragrant... aromatic... sweet-smelling.  But Euodia was raising one holy stink in the church at Philippi!  And while "Syntyche" is the Greek word for "fortunate," I don't imagine the Philippian church felt very lucky to have Syntyche disrupting things!

Isn't it sad that the only thing we know about Euodia and Syntyche is what we read in the fourth chapter of Philippians?  Wouldn't it be sad if the only memory people had of you was some controversy you stirred up, or some difference you refused to mend, or some decision of the church you just couldn't put behind you.  Let's make a commitment to be remembered for far better things.

But Paul doesn't stop there.  He turns to a third party and says, "Help these women make their peace."  When we see conflict between others, we tend to just shake our head in dismay and otherwise ignore the problem.  But you prove you are a "true partner" in building Christian community when you help to bring peace between battling believers.

As we continue our series called "Getting Along," this Sunday we'll look at how to mediate a conflict.  "Syzygus" needs to be our nature even if it's not our name!  Join us @ 10 a.m.!


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