Did You Know That the Bible Instructs Us to Be Reasonable?

The sermon at church last Sunday was about two women who had a disagreement.

“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored[c] side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:2-3

Paul recorded this disagreement in his letter to the Philippians and commanded them to get along.  Imagine that: two women having a disagreement was causing problems in the fellowship of the church.

But that’s not what struck me. What struck me was one of the verses that followed it.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:5

In the passage, Paul is talking about conflict resolution. There’s no mention of these women being in sin. There’s no instruction to have them repent. Paul was not shy about calling people out if we are in sin, so I think he would have mentioned it if it was a sin issue.

This was probably a matter of preference.  They disagreed about something not specifically commanded in scripture.

How did Paul tell them to behave?

Be reasonable. 

How many times do we as Christians behave unreasonably?

I’m not talking about standing up against sin our churches. That is actually something we need to do more of.

I’m talking about being agreeable.

Is that what we’re known for as Christians?

Let’s look at what the church is known for.

We are known for acting unreasonably regarding unbelievers:

Like expecting them to behave like moral, spiritually alive people when we’re dead in their trespasses and sins and can’t be alive.

Like demanding our rights to not be persecuted when the thing we object to isn’t even really persecution.

Like demanding that we be allowed to live according to our beliefs but not wanting to give others same consideration.

That’s what Christians are known for.

We’re known for acting unreasonably regarding believers, too:

Like church arguments over the color of carpet in the sanctuary.

Or church splits how long beards should be.

Or friendships ruined over how many kids are too many to have.

Or church wide division over if it’s okay to send your kids to a charter school or a public school.

All of the above things have happened.  I have seen them with my own eyes.

That’s the kind of thing that Christians are known for. 

This is not believers acting reasonably.  

This is the definition of unreasonable.

Unreasonableness is one if the main things that Christians are known for –and it is not because we are standing for the truth. We may think we are standing for the truth, but we’re not doing it in a scriptural way.

It is because we are acting entitled and spoiled. We expect the world to cater to us and do things our way. We behave entitled, expecting our preference to be acknowledged and considered.

This is the sin of selfishness and indulgence in our midst.

This makes Christians look bad.

This is not how Christ behaved!  It’s not how we are called to behave.

Christians are not known as being loving to each other and the lost like we’re supposed to.

We are not known for going above and beyond the call of duty to show love and honor.

It’s not because we stand against sin.

It’s because we’re not living selflessly like Jesus.

It’s because we are unreasonable, stubborn, and hard-nosed about non-biblical issues.

Are you known for your reasonableness?

Are you more concerned about others than yourself?

 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:4-8

This is what I have been thinking about today.


Sarah Forbes


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