Several years ago, my wife and I were traveling in another city. As we walked on the sidewalk, we happened upon another couple who were in the midst of a heated argument.
“You don’t think I’m having a good time?” His arms flayed as he questioned his wife. “I’m having a good time!” he shouted at her with an enraged face. His wife silently walked alongside of him.
Uh...okay. I would hate to see when he is NOT having a good time.
Our body language and delivery speak far louder than our actual words. Sometimes, we need to hide or mask our true feelings. But as well know, many people can see right through a person’s words when they are being disingenuous. I often find myself in this situation, when working within a small group, particularly when I know the other members. Different personalities and sometimes, different agendas. It takes skill and grace to navigate the potential minefields of any group interaction.
Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
Acts 15:37-40 (ESV)
The Bible never pulls any punches and presents the great saints with their flaws. I appreciate the Holy Spirit recording this disagreement between two giants of the early church, Paul and Barnabas. Although close friends and colleagues, this issue divided them and caused them to separate. There was no sugarcoating the episode, no false humility.
Conflict is inevitable and it is acceptable to disagree and show your true feelings, even between fellow Christian believers. But we are to go beyond the disagreement. Although estranged for a while, Paul and Mark were later reconciled and near the end of Paul’s life, he requested Mark to visit him in prison. The Bible presents life as it truly is. It gives me the answer to live life how God wants us to live, by believing and trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.