Giving second chances

Sometimes good friends disagree, occasionally quite sharply.

I’m not sure who was right, but Barnabas and Paul once got in an argument. Apparently it was bad enough that they decided they couldn’t work together, at least for a while.

Luke tells us what happened:

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.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches (Acts 15:36-41).

We don’t know all the details, but Mark had gone with Paul and Barnabas on a previous missionary trip, and for some reason he had left them and returned home (Acts 13:13).

Was he homesick? Scared? Discouraged?

We don’t know, but whatever the reason, Paul didn’t think it was legitimate, and he wasn’t ready to take Mark on another trip.

So, between Paul and Barnabas, who was right? Should they have taken Mark or not?

There’s no way to know for sure, and maybe it was just a matter of opinion.

But I’d go with Barnabas.

Don’t you think it’s better to forgive?

Even Paul later changed his mind about Mark. Shortly before he died he wrote Timothy: “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Try this: given an opportunity to give someone a second chance, do it. Forgive. Overlook. Think the best.

Barnabas decided to give Mark another opportunity to prove himself, and apparently the young man didn’t disappoint him.

So . . . forgive your spouse. Don’t hold grudges.

Look for your children’s good points and try, when possible, to overlook their faults.

Think good things about your friends and fellow church members, and de-emphasize their negative traits.

Don’t you want people to give you the benefit of the doubt?

People tend to live up to what we expect from them, and it’s usually best to think the best.

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