Paul and Barnabas had travelled and ministered together, encouraged one other, endured persecution side-by-side, and won many to Christ. But even the best of relationships can go awry, and they were no exception. ‘Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated.’ Paul and Barnabas never intended to hurt each other. They were both good men, and God’s Kingdom was their top priority. God chose Paul to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, and the Bible calls Barnabas ‘a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.’ (Acts 11:24 NIV) Both agreed on the major issue: namely, re-visiting those churches where they’d ministered earlier. They just differed on how to go about it. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark. Paul didn’t; he wanted to take Silas. And it often happens that we agree on what needs to be done but differ on how to accomplish it.
Natasha Robinson says it’s important to:
(1) Recognise when God brings a relationship to a close and not to try to turn ‘seasonal’ people into life-long friendships. When He sends certain people into your life, He doesn’t intend them to become permanent partners. Yet because you love them and get attached it’s hard to let go, even when it’s time.
(2) When you part company, make a clean break and don’t let anger make you sin. We’re emotional creatures. It’s easy to get bitter and want to tell your side of the story, and consequently end up causing division. Speak ‘the truth in love.’ (Ephesians 4:15 KJV) Refuse to bad-mouth the other person and God will honour you. Even if they speak out against you, God knows, and He’ll handle it.