Saturday, September 30, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Accepting the Unacceptable
Philippians 4:2-9

VS.9 "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you".
Paul writes his letter to Philippians while he was in prison. Prisons in the days of Paul were not pleasant or healthy. In the mind of the people, prison was equal to death, despair, sickness of mind and body, and humiliation. Through this letter, Paul addresses the disunity in Philippian Church.” Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”(Philippians2:2). The appeal to Euodia and Syntyche(Philippians 4:2-3) is the clear evidence of dissension in the Church of Philippi. Many commentators believe that disharmony was the serious problem in the community and thus interpret these verses as an indication of Paul’s real purpose in writing.
Accepting the Unacceptable- In Inter-personal Relations
As humans, we’ve to move, work and live in a community. As Christians we’re practicing our faith in a community. Eudia and Syntyche were not ordinary people. They were leaders.  Paul says: “they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”(v.3). There is possibility of conflict among the saints and among the ministers. Conflict was occurred among the great missionaries Paul and Barnabas. If we have a conflict with other person does not mean that he/she is the most corrupted or wicked person. In every human being there may some aspect which is unacceptable by another. There is a saying: “Every Rose has its Thorns.” Paul urges Eudia and Syntyche to agree with each other (NIV) or to be of the same mind (NRSV) in the Lord. This is an advice to the believers of all times.
Accepting the Unacceptable- In Difficult Life Situations
General exhortations of St Paul in the following verses help a believer to tackle with difficult life situations. 1. Rejoice in the Lord. All our joy terminate in God and our thoughts of God must be delightful.(M.Henry). While going through toughest situation in life, as a Roman prisoner, Paul again and again exhorts to rejoice.2. Be Gentle. The Psalmist says: “the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”(Psalm37:11). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”(Matthew 5:5). In difficult situations we have to be gentle and meek.3. Do not be anxious but pray to God with a thankful heart. Jesus urges us not be anxious.(Matthew6:31). St Peter says, caste all your anxieties on God, because He cares for you. Thank God for everything including the trials and tribulations. Pray for courage to face it. Pray for wisdom to understand it. Pray for strength to overcome it.4. Think about what is excellent and praiseworthy. There is a saying: “we are what we think.” Paul summarizes all books on positive thinking in this verse. Think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing and whatever is commendable.(v.8).5. Imitate Paul who is going through tough times. Paul says: “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.”(v.9).
Accept difficult persons and toughest situations in your life with smile
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference
Every Rose has its Thorns.
Rev. Joe John, St. Thomas MTC, Elippakulam.