When Relationships Get Messy

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They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.     

     Sometime 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. Acts 15:36-40

Lord Jesus, we are grateful for the stories of brokenness and messiness included in the Scriptures. The Bible is quite authentic and unabashedly honest, about the mess we’re in, and the mess that we are.

In particular, we’re thankful today for this story of two good friends, Paul and Barnabas, having “such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” Lord, all of have been/are in relationships that bring hurt, disconnect, and distance.

We need wisdom from above and power in our weakness; mercy to forgive and grace to move forward. You’ve come to destroy hostilities, tear down walls, make peace, and be our peace. You reconcile enemies to God and to one another, so we can trust you to be at work in our tense, terse, complicated relationships.

It took time plus grace for Paul and Barnabas to get back together. So the same will probably be true in some of our stories. Free us to listen from the heart and wait in faith. Help us confront what must be confronted and know when to remain silent.

Lead our praying and encourage our hearts. Help us stay present in the chaos without giving in to the pulls, or assuming we can fix what you alone can redeem. Show us more of our sin and more of the power of the gospel.

Jesus, no one is better at sticky-situation loving than you, so we abandon ourselves to you with our hurt, sadness, and anger; and our very real hope that you will show up, big time, in time. So very Amen we pray with confidence, in your powerful and reconciling name.

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