God’s Word Is Alive
Solving Difficulties with Love
It is the following year now. Paul and Barnabas are getting ready to leave on a second missionary journey. Barnabas wants to take his cousin Mark along with them again. However, Paul does not want him along. He is saying: ‘Mark quit the last time we took him.’ Yet Barnabas insists that he be given another chance.
Because of this difference of opinion, “there occurred a sharp burst of anger, so that they separated from each other.” Barnabas took Mark with him. They boarded a boat and sailed away to the island of Cyprus to preach there. Paul, on the other hand, chose another Christian, Silas, and they began a preaching journey that took them first into Syria.—Acts 15:36-41.
What about this problem between Paul and Barnabas? If you had been there and had seen this “sharp burst of anger,” would you have concluded that Paul and Barnabas were not part of God’s people because of the way they behaved?
Really, that would not have been wise. We should realize that all of us have inherited imperfection from our original parents Adam and Eve. (Romans 5:12) So “we all stumble many times,” the Bible says. (James 3:2; Romans 3:23) Yet true Christians do not continue angry with one another or harbor grudges. They heed the Bible command: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. . . . Clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:13, 14.
Well, did the two prominent Christians, Paul and Barnabas, solve their difficulties with love? Look at them here. They are associating together again! (1 Corinthians 9:5, 6) And later Paul wrote Timothy: “Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministering.”—2 Timothy 4:11.
Yes, although early Christians sometimes had difficulties among themselves, they solved these with love. Surely we can copy their example.