It won’t take long before we find an area of disagreement between them
Reference: They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, (Acts 15:39 NIV)
Explore: As part of officiating weddings, I highly recommend doing a pre-marriage counselling course with the couple. This is a great way to bring up some areas of importance that a couple may not have thought about before getting married.
We look at topics such as communication, financial management, sexual expectations and family history. Whenever I address the area of conflict resolution many couples will be quick to say, “We don’t really argue.”
While they may not argue like their parents or their other couple friends, it won’t take long before we find an area of disagreement between them. This does not mean that they have a bad relationship, it just means that they need to work out ways to communicate effectively so that they can maintain a strong connection.
Some helpful conflict resolution tips are:
Bring up issues before they fester and grow.
Only discuss one issue at a time (if you’re talking about finances it’s not the time to bring up the wet towel that’s left on the bathroom floor everyday!)
Allow both people to share their feelings and opinions.
Pick your battles
Start sentences with “I feel…” rather than “You did…”
Healthy relationships can still be maintained, even with differences of opinion.
Application: It’s no surprise that there were disagreements between people in the Bible. Even the greatest followers of Jesus were human and had differences of opinion with each other.
Paul and Barnabas had been working together for a long time. They had an incredible history together and had witnessed amazing moves of God in their work.
However, they hit a difference of opinion that sent them in opposite directions. Their conversation is not recorded in our scripture, but I wonder how the early church would be different if they had have worked out their differences in a more positive way.
Thankfully, God’s mission is not limited by our disagreements with other people, but often it is our lives which are impacted by the conflicts we have with others. God is peace and when peace is removed it can negatively affect our lives.
Whilst disagreements can be expected in any relationship, it is God’s desire to see peace reign and, therefore, we must continue to work through our differences.
Prayer: Lord, give us Your wisdom, love and peace as we work together to fulfil Your purpose here on earth. Amen.
What’s one thing you can do to bring more peace to your relationships?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.