Saturday, June 24, 2017
JUNE 24 "CAN WE AGREE TO DISAGREE?"
I remember many years ago Pastoring in a Church where there was some minor issues, that were quickly escalating to major issues. My options were to ignore it or confront it. I looked at the parties involved and what I saw was a group of men that were strongly opinionated, but also mature and strong in their faith. So based on that, I chose the option of confronting, head on. We all met at every Christian’s church outside of church, ie; Starbucks and just brought out all the gossip and rumblings. The situation was fragile and could have easily escalated out of my control, but it didn't! I believe that when you are dealing with two or more mature Christians, solid in their faith, you should be able to bring up any issue, discuss any matter and still be able to have a civil conversation or even a civil argument; and not all leave hating each other and wanting to leave the church and/or ministry. If ever you have one of these meetings and things do not go well, it is because you were wrong in your assessment of the maturity and faith of the Christians you were meeting with. Paul and Barnabas are exactly the type of men of which I've been speaking (writing). They are both strongly opinionated, but are also strong in their faith and mature. We of course want to know, “who’s right, who’s wrong”. We of course would pay anything to find out “who’s side was God on in that argument?” What if God respected both their opinions! What if God didn't take sides? Why does someone always have to be right and someone always has to be wrong? The same thing that causes fighting at home is the same thing that causes fighting and dissension at Church. When you have a group of people that are brought together on a regular basis, that are immature, but yet strongly opinionated, you’re going to have strife. And in this case you will say, “two is not better than one” it’s a nightmare and NO I will not agree to disagree. Paul and Barnabas remain great friends through this blow out. Not only do Paul and Barnabas remain great friends, but Paul and Mark also become very good friends and ministry partners later on. This one time argument isn’t the death blow between Paul, Barnabas and Mark. As with many Christians today, one blow out, one argument is the death blow to a friendship that had been going on for years. Now the friendship is over, they are leaving the Church, years of relationship now will be thrown away, it just makes no sense. And it makes no sense because it’s wrong and it’s wrong because the people are wrong. Trying to make sense out of people who are just wrong, jaded or twisted in their hearts and faith is a futile exercise. Today’s reading displays to us what “Christianity should look like” and if you see anything else that does not look like what you saw (read) today, don’t try to make sense out of it, don’t try to justify it, just call it for what it is, say, “I know Christianity when I see it and what I saw take place today between those two, was not Christianity” or the opposite could be true, “I know Christianity and what I saw take place between those two church members today, is a classic example of two earnest Christians, mature and strong and faith and they, like Paul and Barnabas have agreed to disagree and yet remain friends and partners in the ministry”.