“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
Colossians 4:6 (NLT)
It is guaranteed that at some point, you will have a disagreement with one or all of your friends and family members. It’s difficult to function at gatherings when you’ve been hurt by someone in the room, isn’t it?
There’s a story that follows that pattern in Acts 15. Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark went on a mission trip and, for whatever reason, Mark got his feelings hurt and went home. Paul and Barnabas continued on the journey without him.
Later, Paul wanted to go back on the field, and Barnabas suggested taking Mark with them. Paul adamantly refused. The two friends exchanged words and wound up parting ways.
I’ve been in this situation—where two people who love God differ in their values and part ways. It doesn’t feel right.
The Bible says Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp” contention. Sharp words can cut, can’t they? The sharpness of words especially hurt when they come from people we love and respect. Sometimes we want to be right so badly that we can lose valuable relationships.
So how do we respond when sharp words are thrown our way? Should we act like Paul and Barnabas and just walk away?
I used to consider myself the queen of grudge-holding. I would walk away from people who hurt me and not deal with them anymore—even people I loved deeply. What I learned is that every place I went, I found myself being hurt over and over again. I would just keep my tennis shoes on and keep running. Finally, God brought me to a place where I had to face my pain.
I asked Jesus to come and heal my hurt and help me restore relationships through forgiveness and reconciliation. Was it easy? Absolutely not! But the freedom I felt was joy unspeakable.
We don’t know what happened with Paul and Mark, but in 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul asks explicitly for him, saying, “…Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.”
Somewhere along the way, Paul, Barnabas, and Mark reconciled. They were able to partner in ministry again. They didn’t allow sharp words to stop their relationship forever. We would be wise to follow their example.
Don’t let sharp words stop you from pursuing relationships with others. Ask God to help you forgive those who’ve hurt you. There’s much freedom to be found in forgiveness and reconciliation.
1. Who have you walked away from as a result of hurtful words?
2. How can you begin to repair that relationship?
If you need prayer or you would like to talk with a K-LOVE Pastor, we are here to serve you. Call us at 844-364-4673 (hope).