Mark 9:33–37, Acts 15:36-41, 1 Timothy 6:3–11
It is an amazing fact that you might have learned yourself: people are different, and don’t always agree.
There are various kinds of disagreements, and it is not necessarily bad to disagree. In fact, it is often through disagreements that better solutions, not just compromise, can be found. In our current political environment, compromise is now a bad thing, as members of both Republican and Democrat parties entrench themselves. While the President may be the focal point, the reality is people seem to have lost the ability to discuss hard things without devolving to name calling and pointless posturing.
The disciples argued with each other regarding who was first among Jesus’ disciples. Two of them, Peter and John, probably had the strongest claim (from what scripture tells), but that this argument appeared to be amongst all of them indicates that Peter and John’s “ranking” was not as prominent as we think. This would be a pointless argument. While figuring out who is the leader is often a good discussion at other times, their little group had a leader…Jesus.
The “sharp disagreement” between Paul and Barnabas is one of the biggest examples that not everything went perfectly well and peaceful all the time in the church. John Mark was the point of contention. What the exact issue was, both past and possible future, we can guess. Neither leader (for both were leaders) felt they could compromise regarding John Mark. They separated after being together so long. They had some sort of reconciliation later. This shows us that we can disagree well, and part ways. It doesn’t seem that either held it against the other for long.
Paul understands that there will be conflict and arguments. In his letter to his protégé, Timothy, Paul doesn’t say don’t argue, but that people who seek argument are to be corrected. We all want to be right (and viewed that way), but most of us are aware of our limitations. We are able to be humble when wrong.
As the world starts to stop talking and only yell, the church (with its many human failings) should show the way. As the church deals with uncomfortable topics, it should lead in love. This starts right here with our framily.
1) Have you ever had an argument which has been left unresolved, and thus straining or destroying a relationship? Was it friends, immediate family, or was it framily? What can you do to resolve things?
2) Why is it so important to understand that we don’t always agree and that it is okay?