Conflict

Paul and Barnabas Separate

And after some time Paul said to Barnabas, Come, let us go back and again visit and help and minister to the brethren in every town where we made known the message of the Lord, and see how they are getting along. Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark [his near relative]. But Paul did not think it best to have along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. And there followed a sharp disagreement between them, so that they separated from each other (Acts 15:36-39 AMP).

Lot and Abraham separate So Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South [country of Judah, the Negeb]. Now Abram was extremely rich in livestock and in silver and in gold… But Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to nourish and support them so they could dwell together, for their possessions were too great for them to live together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. And the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land [making fodder more difficult to obtain]. So Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg of you, between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are relatives. (Gen 13:1,2,5-8)

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Acts 15 We see that the best of men are but men, subject to like passions as we are. Perhaps there were faults on both sides, as usual in such contentions. Christ’s example alone, is a copy without a blot. Yet we are not to think it strange, if there are differences among wise and good men. It will be so while we are in this imperfect state; we shall never be all of one mind till we come to heaven.

To christians who have been separated by conflict, God says, Be ye reconciled.

If you are the offender Jesus says, So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift (Matt 5:23-24 AMP).

If you’re the offendee, Jesus says,  If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him. And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled)…Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! (See Luk 18:3-4; Matt 21:21-22 AMP)

You may wonder how Paul and Barnabas, and Abraham and Lot reconciled. How did they rebuild their relationship after such a sharp contention? Matthew Henry’s commentary on Acts 15 says, Paul speaks with esteem and affection both of Barnabas and Mark, in his epistles, written after this event  (see 1 Cor 9:6).

In Genesis 14 Abraham still went to rescue Lot from captivity even after they had separated in Genesis 13.   Whatever the conflict. No matter our differences, we need to give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled.

Reference
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/Acts/Paul-Barnabas-Separate

Further Reading
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/paul/positive-separations.html
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/when-you-are-the-offender-part-one.html
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/when-you-are-the-offender-part-two.html
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/when-you-are-the-offended-part-one.html
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/when-you-are-the-offended-part-two.html

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