Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Difference of Compassion

   In my study of the women of the Bible, I am now only to the E's. All I can say is life is busy so it is  taking me quite a while to get through this book. The woman I want to talk about is mentioned by name only once that I know of in the Bible. Her name is Euodias. Not exactly a name that rolls of your tongue! Her name means "prosperous journey" or "fragrant". The verse where she is mentioned is in Colossians 4:2 "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind." Obviously there was some division between these two women in the Philippian church, because Paul admonished them to be of the "same mind". It doesn't tell us what caused the division, but it bothered the Apostle Paul enough for him to address it in scripture!
   Differences of opinions and arguments have been going on for quite a while in churches. It seems our churches are overrun with these little differences, which soon build into divisions in the church. This pettiness shows a great deal of the spirituality of the individuals involved. I have been in church my whole life and have seen these divisions and disunity in most of the churches I've attended. There is always someone willing to cause trouble, and it can be SO easy to get caught up in this. Don't let someone else's "battle" become your own! A lot of these divisions usually begin by just one person who feels they were 'wronged' by someone else, sometimes unintentional. They then go and tell those they are closest to, or someone they know will listen. From there it just keeps getting passed down; neither one of those carriers of this awful virus will ever go to the source and find out if it's true. No one is ever willing to give the victim the benefit of the doubt.....do we not realize this is sin? I fear most the time we really don't care if it is true or not! James 4:11 "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."  James 3: 16 & 18 "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." We gather from these verses that we are commanded not to speak evil of our brothers (or sisters) but to bring peace to each situation we find ourselves. There doesn't seem to be many peacemakers among Christians anymore. Peace calls for the Holy Spirit to be in control of our lives; which means we have to be in His Word each day. Causing strife and division is something that comes natural. When I enter a room or even conversation, do I bring peace to it or add more strife and division?
   The Lord made everyone different, we are not going to all agree or like the same things, that gives us no right to destroy your brother or sister with our words or actions! I John 2:10-11 "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." We must be SO careful, because once you get tricked into talking bad about our brothers and sisters in Christ, our eyes become blinded. How can we realize we are doing wrong if we can't see it? There should never be a time when we hate our brother or sister in Christ so much that we are willing to destroy them with our tongue both physically and spiritually. How sad it is when we can do it and not even think twice about it! Romans 8:5-8 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." The carnal or fleshly mind yields strife and division; the spiritually minded produce life and peace. Simply put, if you can talk about or treat someone rudely you are fleshly minded and are just doing what comes natural to you. Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." There shouldn't be anything bad coming out of our mouths but only things that will build up or encourage those hearing it! Philippians 2:2-3 "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded having the same love being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." 
   Most of the things we hear from other people usually have a very small amount of the truth, yet we are willing to believe it completely and share it with others, all the while sinning and destroying that person. Sometimes the information we hear is true; instead of us helping that brother or sister, we are so eager to push them down even farther. We give no thought to the load they carry. We think we are so super spiritual we can't bother to lift a finger to help them up, never remembering just how far Christ had to go to redeem us! Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference." Compassion - sympathetic, consciousness of others distress together with a desire to alleviate. Whether that person is right or wrong, do we ever think to come along beside them and help lift them up, tell them we love them and will help them along the way? No we usually are the first to tell them how wrong they are, and tell others what happened. Do you realize just how much compassion the Lord has with us everyday? Lamentations 3:22-23 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
   It is my thought and hope that Euodias and Syntyche resolved their differences and became of "one mind" as Paul instructed. Oh how we all need to heed that advice each and every day. Don't let someones actions or words cause you to sin, become bitter against them, and then repeat the matter to someone else. Don't be a carrier of the disease either. It is so very easy to get caught up, you must keep yourself spiritually minded!!
The Lord has so much to say on this topic, which leads me to believe there was a problem with this in the churches in the Bible.

1 Peter 3:8-12
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."

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