Handling disagreements (2)
Here’s some advice for handling disagreements: 1) Sometimes the best resolution to a conflict is a separation, even if it’s just for a short time. When emotions run high, we need space to think clearly. And God can use this time of separation for His glory. Because Paul and Barnabas parted, the gospel was preached in even more cities. But when a temporary separation is the best option, we need to agree on how long it will be. In some friendships, one person might have outgrown the relationship. But this should be handled with love and wisdom, realising that we can all learn from our mistakes and grow through them. Later Paul wrote, ‘Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry’ (2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV). 2) If we realise that we were in the wrong, we need to acknowledge it. For a single, focused leader like Paul, this called for humility. It’s actually quite comforting to know that someone as anointed and brilliant as Paul could rethink his position and come to a different conclusion. A mistake might be bad, but it’s not as bad as the pride that defends it and spurs us on to keep making the same mistake. 3) We must learn to disagree without being disagreeable. After their conflict, both Paul and Barnabas focused on their own missions. Nowhere in Scripture do we find a time when either of them talked publicly about their disagreement or talked badly about the other. The only behaviour we have the power to change is our own. ‘We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ’ (Ephesians 4:15 NLT).
Read about Paul and Barnabas’ disagreement in Acts 15:36-41 and then pray about what you’ve read. Make notes about anything it teaches and anything God reveals to you about handling disagreements.
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