Nearly all of us have encountered fallout from misunderstandings, wrong perceptions, and differing viewpoints that we wish we could have avoided. Often it’s not just with people who see the world differently than us. Sometimes it’s within our own families and people we’ve been the closest to that bring the greatest hurts.
When we look at scripture we find out that we’re not alone. One time Paul and his longtime friend and ministry partner Barnabas had such a strong disagreement that they parted ways. It’s found in Acts 15. Paul wanted to go back and visit the believers in all the towns where they had preached before to see how they were doing. However, when Barnabas expressed his desire to take Mark along with them they got into an argument.
The whole disruption started because Mark had deserted them earlier in their work so Paul didn’t want to risk bringing him along again. It’s funny to think that a guy who had been forgiven of so much in his past was now holding the past actions of someone else against him. So it says,
They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left… Acts 15:39-40 MSG
How could this happen? Paul and Barnabas were not new believers. Both men had walked with God for years. They were teammates. They had served God together, labored together and suffered together. They were both fully committed to doing the will of God, no matter what the cost. They had risked their lives for the sake of Christ and yet they clashed. These two men shared the same passion and the same zeal to help people. The had the same theology, but they disagreed over a practical matter of ministry.
The truth is you don’t have to serve God very long to discover that serving God doesn’t prevent you from clashing with someone whose personality is different from yours. What’s ironic about this encounter is that Paul is the guy who wrote, "If it is possible as much as it depends on you live peace with everyone." He is the same guy who began all of his letters to the churches with the phrase, "Grace and Peace to you" and yet we see He has this disagreement. What we need to realize is that living at peace is not the same thing as never disagreeing.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:18 NKJV