Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 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. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Written by: Sarah Gauer
Sometimes I struggle with people pleasing. Sometimes I will sacrifice what I want or what I know to be right for the sake of avoiding an argument. Maybe you do this too, or know someone who does?
The problem with this is that my voice and my thoughts are important in my relationships. God made only one of me, with my unique experiences, personality, and perspective. If I withhold my ideas to avoid conflict, the other person doesn’t have the opportunity to know the real me or hear a different point of view. I miss the opportunity to be known and can become resentful. Everyone loses out in this scenario.
In the verses above, Paul and Barnabas disagree about whether or not Mark should join them on their next missionary journey. They both have good reasons for their arguments, and I suspect that their personality types contribute greatly to their stances. In the end, they couldn’t agree on how to proceed, so they went separate ways—Barnabas taking Mark as a partner and Paul taking Silas. As a result, the missionary efforts were doubled, reaching far more people with the message of the gospel in two different directions.
In this case, the goal was to spread the gospel to as many people as they could. Paul and Barnabas disagreed about the best way to do this, but they agreed on the ultimate goal. They both cared about the goal enough to go through the conflict to achieve it.
This applies to our relationships as well. If our ultimate goal is to have a solid and healthy relationship with another person, we have to be willing to go through the inevitable conflict to achieve it. We can agree to disagree on the details if we are both committed to the goal of seeing the relationship flourish.
Thought of the day: What difficult conversation have you been avoiding? Is the health of that relationship worth the possible pain of the conflict?
Prayer: God, thank You for creating me to be in relationship with You and with others. Thank You for showing me the way to manage these relationships well. Father, show me any areas where I have been avoiding conflict and give me the courage to have difficult conversations for the sake of healthy relationships. In Jesus’ name, amen.