Last Sunday Dave gave a sermon on disagreeing well (listen to it here)
We looked at the story of Paul and Barnabas, from Acts 15, where, despite years of successful service and friendship – their relationship fell apart over a disagreement on whether to gamble on an old friend who had let them down in the past.
The falling-out is described in the NIV translation as ‘sharp’. Ouch. Perhaps you’re familiar with that feeling of being left wounded and prickly towards someone after a disagreement becomes an argument, then a full-on falling-out?…
Perhaps the saddest thing about this story, is the fact that both men are coming to the argument with good intentions and go on to do good things separate from each other: How much better for them if they had of just been able to recognise that at the time they let they friendship turn so sour! Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, but this is an important lesson to those of us still striving to follow their lead of wanting to share that same good news through our life journeys today.
Being part of a Church or faith community is rife with potential to fall-out and disagree. It can be a messy business trying to be as inclusive, loving and accepting as possible! Do you need to readdress a conflict that has turned sharp between you and someone else? Perhaps an old friend or someone you’re hurt hasn’t been able to see things your way and recognise the good intentions behind your argument?
Don’t let it fester and have to learn the hard way, like Paul did. Disagreeing well is an essential part of forming the full and flourishing community that Paul later describes as the Body of Christ –
25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
27-31 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.
1 Corinthians 12