Paul and Barnabas had travelled and ministered together, encouraged one other, endured persecution side-by-side, and brought many people to Christ. But even the best of relationships can go wrong, and theirs was no exception. ‘Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways.’ Paul and Barnabas never intended to hurt each other. They were both good men, and God’s Kingdom was their top priority. God chose Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, and the Bible calls Barnabas ‘a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith’ (Acts 11:24 NIV). Both agreed on the major issue, which was re-visiting the churches where they’d ministered earlier. They just differed on how to go about it. Barnabas wanted to take John. Paul didn’t; he wanted to take Silas. It often happens that we agree on what needs to be done but have different ideas of how to accomplish it. Author and speaker Natasha Robinson says it’s important for us to: 1) Recognise when God brings a relationship to a close and not to try to turn ‘seasonal’ people into life-long friendships. When He sends certain people into our lives, He doesn’t intend them to become permanent partners. But because we love them and get attached, it’s hard to let go, even when it’s time. 2) When we have to part company because of a difference of opinion, we should refuse to let anger take hold. It’s easy to let our emotions take control and become bitter, but instead we should ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15 NLT) and refuse to belittle the other person out of spite. Even if they speak out against us, God knows, and He’ll handle it.
Have you had to break up with a friend or part company with someone because of a disagreement? Today, try to set any bitterness aside and spend a bit of time praying for that person.
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