Proverbs 18:19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
After a few years of lockdowns, and half-capacity attendance within the facilities of worship, plus all the mandated protective measures that were required throughout the pandemic, the question, “What happened to so and so?” seems to be coming up in conversation lately. There have been a lot of changes in three years, including the faces within our church assembly. As people slowly come back together to assemble to reunite in the church, one cannot help but notice there are a lot of faces missing in the crowd. What did happen to the regular attending people we were so familiar with before the world changed?
It was sad to find out that some of the people had passed away, while others moved on to different locations throughout the province and country. Some of the church members got used to the online services that are still available. What caused me to be disheartened, was finding out that a few of the missing faces have not returned because they picked up an offence during the time of testing that the church went through. The different camps of belief toward all the governmental mandates took their toll on their hearts. This resulted in some heated arguments and misunderstandings, so, they just left in anger. Prov. 18:19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
Is a person’s loss of fellowship worth an ideological argument that in most cases no longer mattered after the event ended? Losing the fellowship of a brother or sister in the Lord over a difference of opinion is not worth the bragging rights of being right for the moment. Someone might say, “That person is immature if they are going to be offended because of a disagreement.” That statement may be right, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are hurt and need God’s grace to get them through it. Since we are the representatives of the Lord, then we need to extend the same grace to them that God has given to us. Gal. 6:1 Brothers and sisters, even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you are not tempted as well.
It does not take much to end up in a disagreement. If we are not alert to the tactics of the enemy, Satan will make sure we notice every little slight that comes our way. We need to pay attention to the voice of God’s forgiveness rather that the voice of Satan’s revenge. 2Cor. 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Life is not always cut and dry and it may be difficult to get along with every person we meet throughout our walk with the Lord. However, we can do our best not to be the reason someone rejects God. As Paul writes in Rom. 12:18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. I can adjust my attitude to walk in the peace of God’s goodness and leave the rest to God.
When reading the book of Acts, the question, “What ever happened to Barnabas?” might come up in the same way we have been asking of those we no longer see on a Sunday morning. Barnabas had gone to Tarsus to look for Saul. Acts 11:26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians. They went out together and started one of the most amazing evangelical campaigns of its time. It was the birth of the New Testament church and the anointed partnership of Barnabas and Saul began to change the known world as Christianity started to spread throughout.
The team of Paul and Barnabas was a force to be reckoned with, and Satan needed to slow these two powerful men down. They were full of the Holy Spirit and the works of darkness were being destroyed. What did Satan use to put a wedge between them? Acts 15:37 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. It was a matter of two ministerial opinions as to whether Mark was dependable in ministry. Acts 15:39 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.
The argument was over a Christian brother. Have we ever heard of that happening before? Yes, Satan is still using the same old tactic. The sad thing is that we never hear about Barnabas again and we find out that Paul and Mark reconciled their differences because they end up working together. Paul says about Mark that He (Paul) needs him. 2Tim. 4:11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. When Mark showed up, did Paul say, “Hey Mark, whatever happened to Barnabas?” As we come back together and notice that some faces are missing in the crowd, let us ask God how to pray for these souls. God knows the reasons and the hearts of these people and why they are not showing up. We can be reconciled if we do it God’s way, and that is through forgiveness for one another. Amen!
Find Other Devotions About:
Amen We all need to forgiveness.
Amen. Forgiveness and grace is the glue that somehow keeps us all working toward each other.