S was shopping with Helena, who also went to her church and was in her clique of friends. “If E wouldn’t be so stubborn, she might be a nice person. Except, did you know … she has a special ‘friendship’ with that butcher man? Her husband hasn’t found out yet, but I thought I’d let you in on it, so you can pray for her.”
S continued on her way, picking up pomegranates to examine them for ripeness, pushing the tips of melons and choosing a large one, collecting rice, wheat kernels, and dried beans in cloth bags, and chatting it up with Helena all the while, lots of gossip in her wake.
Suddenly, she spotted E, the woman she was gossiping about, and ducked behind a fruit stand, finally silent. No way did she want to meet that person.
But E had seen her. She and S went to the same church, but they were archenemies. E couldn’t believe how S acted. Why did she always have to take the other side of every issue? Why did S have to seek the limelight, even publicly putting her down? Oh well, E would do the Christian thing and greet her, even though she’d rather stab her in the back—which she often did with her words.
E embraced and kissed S as if they were friends. It was good no one could see her facial expression. Oh, how she hated pretense—but in order to look good, she’d stoop to anything.
Apparently, word got out that E and S made trouble in their local church. The traveling leader called them out by name in his letter. I beseech E, and beseech S, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. How embarrassing!
Seriously, what right had he to name them?
Who were E and S? These are their real initials.
Who was the traveling leader?
For extra credit, where was the missionary when he wrote the letter naming these women? And, what authority did he have to call out two contentious people in the church?
Can you think of another Bible verse about divisive people in the church? Please share.
Why is it so serious when Christians don’t get along in a local church?
Do you think E and S changed their ways and made peace?
What’s the lesson for us today?