Ever have a disagreement with a fellow Christian that go so heated that feelings were hurt? It happens. As Christians, we try to have very civil disagreements with others in the hope of showing Christ. But, there are times when even as we try, things get heated.
This is true even of the early church in the New Testament.
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Here, we see that Paul and Barnabas, companions from the beginning of Paul's ministry, separated over their disagreement about Mark. We can see both sides of the argument: Paul's belief that burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. Barnabas' belief that Mark should get a second chance, that everyone has a moment of fear. But as we read the rest of the text, both went their separate ways and continued their work for the LORD.
These moments happen. They have to. We don't stop being sinful human beings when we come to Christ. If anything, we become more aware of our failings. So what is the takeaway? It's never ok to be purposefully disrespectful just because you disagree. But we do tend to get angry which is a valid emotion provided we do not sin. If we find that things are moving into a heated area, we should say our peace, then walk away. The enemy will take advantage of the moment to sow strife (and we are all too willing to participate without his influence). If we find ourselves being overly defensive about our position or argument, we should take a step back and re evalute. We should also be willing to listen to honest criticism. If we never think we are wrong, that is a sign we are not living in a repentant attitude.
We cannot get along with all other Christians as personalities clash, but we can make choices that though painful, are for the betterment of the church and the Gospel. And we can begin thinking about ourselves in a more sober manner.