Acts 15: 37-39 (GNT) “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 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. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company”
There are times in moments of conflict, we must learn how to agree to disagree respectfully.
There are times when differences and conflicts just cannot be resolved. It doesn’t mean that one person or the other is evil or sinful.
It just means that the difference of opinion or the personality clash does not have a resolution at this time.
We as people are so unique and different in our composition and sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree and go from there.
And more times than not the differences we may have, actually made us better in the long run.
We see an example of this in the relationship between Paul and Barnabas, two partners in Christian ministry who had a sharp disagreement regarding a young man named John Mark.
In (Acts 15), we see that Barnabas wanted to take John Mark on a missionary journey. However, Paul disagreed and refused this request.
Paul’s refusal was based on how John Mark had disappointed him once before and Paul didn’t want to give him another chance, or at least not at this time.
In the end, Paul and Barnabas agreed to disagree and to part company. Paul went one way; Barnabas and John Mark went another. Sometimes, that’s the only solution to a disagreement.
We must be open to having a change of heart in times of conflict, this is a sure indication of maturity.
There’s a postscript to this story: In ( II Timothy 4:11), Paul writes from his prison cell in Rome and tells Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
Sometime after the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, John Mark redeemed himself and became a valued partner in Paul’s ministry and the kingdom of God.
In fact, as Paul faced execution in Rome, he wanted his friend/son John Mark at his side. Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among those involved.
The conflict may be personal, financial, political, or emotional.
I’d like you to consider that some conflict can be transforming because some conflict can be useful in creating opportunities for creative ministry, business, family, and building relationships.
When there is no conflict, no one is being pushed to have new ideas or to work in new ways. In today’s world, businesses need to be constantly changing and improving themselves.
It is very difficult for a business or any kind of organization to succeed by simply continuing to do what it has always done.
In the above passage with Paul and Mark, we see this truth shared and highlighted in scripture.
We don’t know all that happens, but we see how Paul valued Mark so much that in his most crucial moments of life called on him for support and love.
So much to be said for Paul and Mark that I had to share it with each of you today. We are facing some significant conflicts in our world today.
The pandemics of COVID-19, financial disruption and hardships for many, and grief beyond human understanding with police brutality at an all-time high.
I strongly support protesting for Black lives matter, the continuation of best practices for health, and the radical confronting of systemic racism pervasive in our country and the world today.
Point to ponder
Whenever there is disagreement, make sure you maintain the support of the person at the same time you disagree with their position if at all possible.
Avoid personal attacks and implying motive behind someone else’s position. This will allow you to disagree and still maintain a relationship.
I am extremely grateful to see the conflict between Paul and Mark in the Bible among other challenges.
There comes a time we have to have difficult conversations long enough to be comfortable with the conversation.
But most importantly we see that somehow this conflict with Paul and John Mark was resolved and ended in a mature and transformational experience for all involved.
Although it is often assumed that people avoid conflict, many people actually enjoy conflict to a certain degree because it can be the impetus for new thinking.
Considering a different point of view, which in certain cases represents conflict can open up new possibilities and help to foster new ideas that might otherwise have not been considered.
- How do you handle conflict?
- Is it time to learn the best practices of conflict resolution?
- Who are you having conflict in this season of your life?
- What can you learn from today’s message?
- Can conflict be leveraged in a healthy resolution?
Pastor James Baker, Jr. and our leadership team are especially thankful for those of you who provided financial donations and support in the month of June 2020, by partnering with us in efforts to advance the kingdom of God in this 21st century season: Special thanks to Ms. Cynthia Waiters-Artis, Ms. Annette Straker, Ms. Rita McGuffin, Mr. Kenneth Washington, Ms. Darlene Simmons, Ms. Mable Bazemore, Ms. Evelyn Rosado, Ms. Itholear Abbott, Mrs. Barbara Mason, Ms. Theresa Lewis, Ms. Ashley Baker, Ms. Judith Battle, Ms. Angela Battle, Ms. Evonne Bazemore, Ms. Chisa Tolliver, Mrs. Lola Moore, Ms. Angie Scraders-Murphy, Mr. Calvin Jackson, Mrs. Robin Baker, Ms. Sylvia Sumpter, and Ms. Gertrude Scott.
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