Acts 15-16~ Day 52~ Don't be a conflict avoider!!

Can I just say....being a Christian doesn't leave you immune from having "sharp disputes" with fellow believers.

Hopefully, always, things can be discussed until a resolution can be found.  We got to see two examples of that in today's reading.  Paul worked so hard to get a resolution to the circumcision debate that he went all the way "to the top", so to speak, to discuss the matter.  Notice he didn't pull the "I saw Jesus personally" card to enforce his authority and establish policy on his own.  Rather, he went to the elders and presented his case in regards to this doctrinal issue (15:2).  As a result there was God given resolution.

In regards to his personal issue against John Mark (15:37), he and Barnabas came to a conciliatory agreement to "divide and conquer".  They both set off to do the same thing, "encourage and strengthen the believers' (vs34), yet with different partners.  Since we don't know the details of their conversation, we are left to speculate.  One's bias, I guess, would determine how one thinks their argument was settled (or not).  I want to believe that they came to a peaceful resolution of going separate ways,  each with a partner that they could work well with.  After all, we do read later that there is restoration in the relationship between Paul and Mark and they end up working together  (Phm. 23,  Col 4:10 & 2 Tim 4:11) later.

These were both excellent examples of how disagreements between believers can be handled! Don't avoid conflict! Work thorough it!   It is possible when both parties are working for God's glory.

When reading about Paul's conflicts, it's good to remember what Jesus said, "Blessed are the peace makers" (Matt.5:8), which is one who brings reconciliation.  They work at making peace. It does not say, "blessed are the peacekeepers", those who just try to calm people down.  "Shhh, don't say anything it will just upset them...."
There's a big difference!


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