The Acts of Disciples
They Disagree – Part III
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.
If we value our relationships, then always look for ways to manage disagreements without destroying the relationships. Yesterday, I suggested ways that we can deal with the disagreements that come up without hurting the relationship.
The first was to surrender the carnal need to win every argument. We can believe we are right without demanding our spouse or friend agree with us. This humble approach looks for solutions or compromise quickly.
The second thing I suggested is to stop the discussion the moment that anger boils over. Remember, it is hard to be reasonable when anger is present.
Finally, I suggested in yesterday’s devotional agreement to the principle: “state your case, but don’t try to make your case”. In other words, do not push hard to get the other person to agree with you.
Once both individuals are committed to finding a solution or compromise rather than simply winning the argument, then they can make progress. Most intelligent people can come up with one or more possible solutions to the problem. They may not know for certain which ones will work, but the key is to try different ones to find out.
In my years of counseling couples that have marriage troubles, my basic approach was the same no matter the problem. This is because the problems that cause disagreement really are not the main problem. Healthy, growing relationships are a result of a healthy, growing relationship with Christ.
I realize that some people end up in a great marriage without any relationship with Christ. However, those are very rare, and statistics show that a high percentage of marriages without Christ end up in divorce.
If you want a great marriage, make sure you are working hard on a great relationship with Christ. When we learn to forgive, as Christ has forgiven us, our marriages get better. When we learn to sacrifice our wants when they come in conflict with a truth that Jesus taught, our marriages get better! When we learn what real love is, according to the Bible, our marriages get better!
When we truly care about God’s opinions concerning our relationships, divorce rates go down and the number of healthy marriages go up.
In all things, simply ask yourself: how would Jesus want me to handle this disagreement? If you do that, the right answer usually comes to you!
Father, please help me in all my relationships. Help me to handle them with the care that You want from me. Grant me wisdom and strength to do what’s right when disagreements develop. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.