The Acts of Disciples
They Disagree – Part I
Scripture Reading: Acts 15:36-41
Key Verses: Acts 15:39-40
They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.
I dealt with the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas in last month’s devotional, but there is more to study about this.
As our Scripture Reading for today describes, the Apostle Paul wanted to go back to the churches they had ministered to earlier to see how they were doing. Barnabas agreed with this mission, but wanted to take Mark, as they did in their first mission trip. Look at Paul’s opinion of this idea:
…but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. (Acts 15:38)
Barnabas, with the nickname “son of encouragement”, wanted to give Mark another chance. If you agree with the Apostle Paul on this matter, you are probably a Type A personality and see everything as “black and white”. If you agree with Barnabas, you are probably a lot like him, caring about people and wanting to encourage everyone, even when they fail.
I hope you can see that this disagreement was not so much about right or wrong, but more about differences in personality and perspective.
Conflicts in relationships, in the church or in the home, are usually about a person’s perspective rather than who is right or wrong. Unfortunately, we humans tend to be determined to prove we are right… our determination to be right is often the cause of the conflicts we get into.
As a pastor, much of my time was spent dealing with people in conflict, either with lay people struggling in their marriages, or conflicts among the church staff. The conflicts that were easy to settle were those that had a clear Biblical principle that someone was violating. Those kinds of conflicts did not occur very often.
Most conflicts were about the differing perspectives between two people, and the disagreements did not have a clear right or wrong. My job, as a peacemaker, was to convince people that neither were wrong in their opinions and to find a compromise they both could live with.
I used to remind couples that they would be so much happier if they would skip the arguments of who was right or wrong, and quickly get to “okay, what are we going to move forward about this”. This approach helps us to stop arguing about words or actions and get to solutions for the future. When managed correctly, disagreements can bring about great solutions without hurt feelings.
Father, remind me to quickly move from arguing to finding solutions in my relationships. Help me to put the health of the relationship before my desire to win. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.