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  “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas” (Acts 15:40); “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11); “Mark, the cousin of Barnabas… if he comes to you, welcome him.” (Col. 4:10).

 

   Lord Jesus, these verses tell a story of close friends disagreeing, separating—but in grace-time, uniting again. Thank you for giving us this story, all of it. Why did Paul and Barnabas feel so differently about Mark? We don’t know, and we don’t have to know. But we can relate. How we deal with our differences is just as important as the difference itself.

Contrasting perspectives often generate chilled attitudes. Chilly attitudes can escalate to sharp disagreements. Emotions ramp up, painful words get spoken, and advocates start acting like adversaries. Lines are drawn, walls are built, friends become unfriendly.

Jesus, in my 72 years of life and 54 years in Christ, I’ve certainly experienced disagreements among believers. But it used to be pretty lame stuff—guitars in the sanctuary, what to wear to church, the best Bible translation… my how the times and issues have changed.

The politics and “pandemia” of the past several years have impacted us greatly. “Us versus them” used to be a contrast between believers and non-believers—an ugly, grace-less way of thinking all by itself. Now it’s “believer”-versus-“believer.” “What think ye of vaccines, my candidate, my country, the NRA, CRT, gun control, immigration… Satan laughs, the Spirit grieves. What we think matters. Who we worship matters more.

Jesus, help us. Humble us. Gentle us. Embolden us. Our calling to live as yours, love as you love us, and seek first your Kingdom have never been more important. So Very Amen.

 

 

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