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Sunday: Restored Friendship — 28 Comments

  1. The sharp disagreement.

    1. Was the friendship between Paul and Barnabas ever restored?

    2. What happened to Barnabas?

    3. The sharp disagreement created a chance for Satan to prepare his own gospel book" the gospel according to Barnabas " which our Muslim brothers claim to be the true gospel. This book is against all that Paul said and against all that Jesus did.

    The sharp disagreement brought the false gospel according to Barnabas but the restored friendship brought the true gospel according to Mark.

    Amen!(10)
  2. Interesting!Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.

    Apparently, after this, John-Mark and Paul were reconciled; 2 Timothy 4:11b:

    Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

    Further evidence of their reconcilliation comes from Colossians 4:10, which has an interesting note in the Amplified version:

    Aristarchus my fellow prisoner wishes to be remembered to you, as does Mark the relative of Barnabas. You received instructions concerning him; if he comes to you give him a [hearty]a welcome.

    Amen!(6)
  3. Some dimensions of forgiveness from today's lesson.

    "... it was all behind him now." Sometimes, this can be the case. However, more often, saying that forgiveness involves putting things behind us is similar to another common myth that the outcome of grieving is that we 'get over it'.

    This myth has given rise to the unbiblical belief that forgiving means forgetting. It doesn't. We don't forgive and forget, and neither does God. Why is that? Because we can't forget - you cannot erase memory. You might think something is 'gone', but given the right conditions, the memory will be retrieved. And it is our memory that contributes to our character formation. If I hypothetically had the power to remove your memories (which I don't), you wouldn't be the same you anymore.

    So, if that is the myth, what is the truth? Forgiveness is not about forgetting - it is about not holding things against someone (2 Cor 5:19). Now I have to be very careful about explaining this because it is very easy to misunderstand.

    When someone wrongs us, essentially they 'owe us' to put things right again - to put things back to the way they were. And this is a core element of God's 'higher' form (Isa 55:9) of justice that characterises his Kingdom - the restoration of things back to what is right.

    And here is where there is a dilemma - things can't be 100% undone and put back to the way they were. But until this is done, we are tied to the other person and that is not healthy. So, forgiveness is our choice to release our chasing after the 'you owe me' and instead extend grace - because we have received grace (Matt 6:12; Col 3:13).

    Does this mean the other person gets off 'free'? No! While you have been harmed by their activity, they have also been harmed by their wrong choice/s - whether they know/consider it or not. And in many instances, the other person will need to face the consequences of their actions - but that is separate from forgiveness even though people often mistakenly lump it in together.

    Does forgiveness mean pretending that nothing happened? You might be ok about that for a particular minor matter, but again in most instances there are repercussions that will need to be addressed appropriately. This also is separate to forgiveness, but unfortunately has again all too frequently been inappropriately lumped in under the (mis)label of forgiveness.

    In today's lesson, forgiveness ultimately led to restoration of the relationship between Paul and Mark. But that was only because there were changes that had occurred that enabled such restoration. Had these changes not occurred, restoration would have been unlikely.

    Healthy forgiveness (like healthy grieving) is a process of being able to respond constructively to what has happened such that it doesn't keep us tied to the past and stop us from moving forward.

    Do I forgive once and then its over? A lot of people are thrown by the fact that they forgave once, but then find that the issue re-emerges for them again down the track. Forgiveness is more typically a PROCESS of responding rather than a once off response. This means that it is a choice to forgive each time the issue represents itself to us.

    Forgiveness is not a one-size-fits-all phenomena. Rather, it is a customised process. It depends upon the specific situation and the specific context to the situation.

    I have tried to cover a fairly generic spread of PRINCIPLES in my comments that will have relevance to many situations, but there will be other situations where I would need to have been more specific in applying the PRINCIPLES outlined above. Such examples would be where there has been significant abuse involved.

    So if you think I have left something important out, or are bothered by something I have said, let me know so I can clarify rather than have you misperceive, misunderstand or misjudge what I have said.

    Amen!(37)
  4. No one born of Adam is above the need to grow in grace. If we deny self, taking up our cross daily to follow Jesus, this growing in grace will take place. In Barnabas and Paul we see this happening as time brings them back to the friendship that was strained at one point.

    Paul's doubting confidence in Mark was restored as Mark demonstrated his own personal growth in faith, which we learn of through Paul's epistles to both the church at Colosse and to Timothy.

    By being partakers of the Divine Nature ourselves, we will forgive as God has been willing to forgive all who have sinned against Him. Even if never reconciled, the spirit of forgiveness will be manifested at all times.

    Amen!(7)
  5. Can somebody outline the steps to reconciliation more specifically in a Christian context please. I'll appreciate.

    Amen!(1)
    • We can sometimes get the wrong idea about stepwise approaches because sometimes reconciliation does not follow the plan. However, here is a list of things that you may like to consider.

      Recognition: We need to recognize that a rift has occurred and determine that something needs to be done about it.

      Repentance: Repentance requires an understanding that it pointless trying to apportion blame.

      Forgiveness: True forgiveness requires a determination to change the circumstances that led to the rift in the first place. As I mentioned elsewhere, forgiveness is a lifestyle decision.

      Forget: I don't mean that you should forget all about the rift, but you should forget to use the incident as a means of control over the other party by reminding them about it.

      Patience: It takes a long time to reconcile. God's reconciliation process lasts throughout eternity.

      Amen!(9)
    • If they ever bring it up at all, it will be to tell others how wonderfully God fixed everything, and will end the telling with shouts of joyful praise. They will surely tell all of the great and wonderful lessons they learned from every trial and failure while growing in grace.

      Amen!(3)
  6. No, I don't believe we will ever forget anything that has happened. That is part of what will protect the universe from anyone ever choosing sin as an option in the future - we will remember what sin is and what sin does. But a bit like unpleasant memories do now, they (typically/frequently) gradually fade into the background and stay there - in the background (unless re-exposed to reminders).

    [However I do acknowledge that severe trauma can be an exception to this.]

    Amen!(1)
    • Phil, I'd like to add that even the severe trauma will seem as nothing in the glories of dwelling in God's presence glorified and the joys of eternal life. The pains of this former life will fade to mere reminders of the sinfulness of sin, as you state, but our joy will eclipse any painful memories to merely distant reminders of how "great and marvelous" the works of God are, and how "just and true" are His ways(Rev 15:3).

      Compared to what Jesus endured for us, and what it has purchased, our greatest suffering will pale to nothing.(you can read Ellen's mention of this in "Early Writings")

      Amen!(3)
      • I agree with what you have said Robert.

        I was only referring to trauma memory memories as a subset of unpleasant memories that might be experienced here and now. So, thanks for your elaboration.

        Amen!(2)
        • We are never promised an easy life full of sunny days with flowers blooming everywhere. We are told to expect hardship and great trials of our faith, and are asked only to be "faithful unto death", while being promised a "crown of Life".

          God will wipe away every tear.

          Amen!(2)
          • God will not only wipe away every tear, He will erase the memory of the pain and grief that caused that tear. Yes, it will be completely forgotten, as if it never happened. This erased memory is what God Himself does when He forgives us (Jeremiah 31:34).

            Many of us appear to struggle with believing God only because we obviously struggle with forgiving AND forgetting. God has no such struggle and we can take Him at His word when He states that He does exactly that. So will we once we are in heaven else we would forever remember the loved ones who aren't there and forever grieve their absence.

            Amen!(1)
          • Seig, don't we need to be careful on how far we take this? The word translated as "and I will remember" is also translated as "to mention", "recount", "still think on", etc.

            God will not manipulate people or Himself, but will replace our past sorrows with a joy that will put those sorrows into a right perspective that will make them seem as nothing in comparison. (This is the meaning Ellen has applied to this idea as well.)

            Amen!(0)
  7. I believe that as a Christian we find that not only does Christ forgive sins, He also takes away sins, and fills our hearts with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It was these graces that allowed Paul to forgive John-Mark, and bring about, peace, love, and joy in Paul’s heart for John-Mark. Albeit John-Mark did prove Himself worthy. However it was the humble, forgiving, character of Christ revealed in Barnabas that also gave Paul peace of mind. Remember the story of Paul and Barnabas in prison, it was the character of Christ revealed to the Jailer by them, that brought the jailer to the saving grace of Christ.

    Amen!(2)
  8. why does forgiveness not always include a complete restoration of a previous relationship? Why does it not always need to? please assist on the above question

    Amen!(1)
    • There are two sides(at least) to every broken relationship. Sometimes both side are not wanting to reconcile. Each soul must make it's own choices.

      e.g. Jesus dies to redeem a world, but a relative few will actually be redeemed. Most will decline the offer of grace, choosing rather to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a (brief) season".

      Amen!(1)
    • Specific answers depend upon the specifics of a situation. In general, two main reasons are:
      * the impacts upon the offended person may be too severe, and/or
      * the offender may be unwilling or unable to change their ways.

      Restoration of a damaged relationship involves both (a) the re-establishment of trust on the part of the offended person and (b) sustained demonstration of genuine trustworthiness on the part of the offender. Where the offence has been more significant/severe, this takes considerable time and effort and sometimes doesn't happen or isn't able to happen.

      Amen!(2)
  9. But in all, as Jesus was human 100%, what would He have done? All eyes on Jesus, the one who was able to live with His betrayer for over 3 years.

    Amen!(1)
    • Andrew. With respect, your comment implying that Jesus modelled for us to stay reconciled to His betrayer is applicable, but only under certain circumstances. I hope you don’t mind me commenting on your comment, but we unfortunately need to be very cautious with this topic because people could, and historically have, drawn some wrong conclusions with harmful consequences.

      It is true that Jesus was 100% human and that He lived with His betrayer for 3 years. But Jesus could do this because He didn’t live under an abusive power differential. Yes, Jesus did die, but it wasn’t due to Judas betrayal. Jesus died because He chose to lay down His life. So, the power balance was actually in Jesus favour and therefore harm was not occurring by Jesus living with Judas.

      Unfortunately, way too many times, the ‘church’ has portrayed that the ‘Christlike’ thing to do in an abuse situation is stay in the situation and, essentially, put up with it. This is wrong and needs to stop happening.

      I realise that what I am referring to lies on the more severe end of the spectrum. But it is the failure to qualify statements (that can otherwise be taken as blanket statements) that has been a part of the problem.

      Therefore, the suggestion you have made would be more appropriate in situations where there is not a power differential in favour of the offender, and less appropriate when such a power differential exists.

      If you have a concern with anything I have said, please let me know.

      Amen!(1)
  10. Jesus has made provision to forgive everyone but not everyone accepts the forgiveness and the substitute sacrifice and He does not force them to accept it.
    This applies between humans as well.

    Amen!(3)
  11. Someone please help me understand why Paul been filled with the Holyspirit, why the Holyspirit didnt reveal to him at the time that is attitude towards Mark was wrong?

    Secondly, I've been praying asking God to help me with restoration of two relationships with persons who NEVER admits they are wrong. One was recently censured by the church but still causing division in the church. The other never admits to hurting and doing wrong even if you have valid proof. All I've asked from these person is an apology, even in tears and outlining how their action and attitude has hurt me and neither of these persons will say sorry and it angers me at times. Why is God taking so long to rectify the situation? I've asked God to help me let go & ignore them but it's so difficult. Any other suggestion?

    Amen!(0)
    • Dear Nikki: Even when we pray, God does not take away anyone's freedom of will. If individuals have been wrong in their behavior, causing censure by the church, the Holy Spirit surely works on their hearts to ask them to repent, but He does not force repentance.
      I personally do not believe there's ever any point to asking grown adults to apologize. If they don't do it of their own free will and initiative, the apology is meaningless.
      The wonderful good news is that we can forgive even when people refuse to repent. It frees us from the burden of resentment and anger. It frees us from trying to make the other person change. This lesson teaches us that God reconciles us to Himself while we were yet sinners. However, as you know, this reconciliation is not effective unless we repent and accept the reconciliation. In the same way, you may forgive, but the relationship is not restored unless the other person repents. But you are free.

      Amen!(2)
    • Nikki

      I affirm what Inge has said above.

      In regard to the first issue you mention, we cannot know another person's attitude for certain. Man can only look at the "outward appearance" and infer/guess at what the underlying "heart" attitude might be. And that guess might be right, or it might be wrong. Only God can know the truth - hence 1 Sam 16:7.
      So, we don't know for sure whether Paul's attitude to John Mark was wrong or not.

      Further, Paul did not get everything right - he was a godly man but he wasn't perfect. And he humbly acknowledged that (Phil 3:12,13).

      Incidentally, Paul has typically been portrayed as somewhat arrogant. But the way he has been portrayed in the 2018 film 'Paul, Apostle of Christ' is what I suspect was much closer to the truth of his demeanor.

      Following on and in specific reference to your second point, my suggestion would be consideration of the Serenity Prayer - which I believe has a lot of merit to it. I would propose that the situation you are talking about is a situation where there is need for you to come to acceptance of that which cannot be changed (even by God because He does not force people to change) so that you can instead turn your focus and efforts to other relationships that can be enriched.

      Matt 7:6 is a verse that many people find difficult to understand - until they are in a situation like the one you are in. You are essentially experiencing this 'being trampled and torn to pieces'. Hence, the advice in that verse to 'not throw your pearls down' is applicable and is similarly reinforced in the principle expressed in Matt 10:13.

      You will not be able to ignore noticing them. If we try to do this, it actually makes things worse because it causes our mind to be even more vigilant towards them. Rather, when you see or think of them, you can can instead say in your mind "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" and continue on your way. Do this every time it comes up for as long as it takes.

      Amen!(0)

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