Sharp Disagreement

Journal 2010. I assume Paul and Barnabas’s “sharp disagreement” (Acts 15:36-41) included sharp words. This story leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Did they not bother to seek God’s face on this? How could they preach unity of the brethren under these circumstances? Both needed to kneel in humility and look upward. Yet they (Paul especially) had some pretty strong words to say with others. He was all about standing firm in the faith, and Barnabas was all about encouragement. They were Holy Spirit-filled men who had feet of clay. In the end, they left for their respective mission fields “committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.”

Who was right? It would be interesting to interview 100 Christians and see which side they’d pick and then see if there is a corollary with personality or temperament. (I tend to side with Barnabas.)

So did this disagreement hinder the Holy Spirit’s work . . . or help? Or did He simply use it to bring about His glory, plan, and purpose? In the end, there was a win-win as four missionaries went out instead of just two.

A 2021 update. For the past year and a half, I’ve watched in dismay as believers wrangle over opinions over COVID and politics. Anger, hurt, and fear drive our discussions, and I wonder how God will sort this all out for His glory. All I can do is guard my own heart and emotions and kindly love those who disagree with me.

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One thought on “Sharp Disagreement

  1. Karen i have wondered about this as well, Paul being such a strong will and Barnabas called the encourager. I have to believe it was God’s will for them to separate, as how many times God used fear for the apostles to go in different directions to spread the good news.

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