Unity is a big topic in the Bible. Believers are called to work and serve together in unity even though we are all very different! Each one of us has been shaped by unique circumstances. We have different viewpoints, convictions, opinions, preferences, and ways of solving problems. Unfortunately, we have not always lived up to our calling. The truth is it can happen with the most spiritual people that are committed to the cause of Christ. Turn to any page of church history and you will find conflict. In Acts 15, we have two individuals, Paul and Barnabas, with two very different personalities, and they clash over the decision to include John Mark on their next journey. The tragedy of an unresolved argument is that even when both sides are right, both sides lose.
Remember these important guidelines:
A person's greatest strengths are often the area for their greatest weaknesses.
Paul’s greatest strength was his laser-focused commitment to follow Christ no matter the cost. His weakness was his inability to accept and work with a weaker man like Mark, who just wasn’t there yet. Paul looked at people and asked, “what can they do for God’s work?” Barnabas’ greatest strength was his ability to encourage others and lift up the weak. His weakness is that he errored on the side of showing grace to those who needed to be confronted. He looked at people and asked, “what can God’s work do for them?”
When you’re involved in a dispute – pray for the ability to see the other person’s side. Our natural response is self-preservation, so we need supernatural help to say, “help me to understand where you’re coming from.”
When both sides of an issue are reasonable, seek a wise compromise. Learn to distinguish between what is absolutely essential, and those issues that have some room for negotiation. What’s best for everyone involved?
Don’t allow personality clashes to cause you to quit serving the Lord. The work of Christ is greater than any one of us
Press on! Pastor Brian Richard