Words have no wings but they can fly a thousand miles. ~Korean Proverb
I was asked to give a devotional thought at a meeting.
There was disharmony in the group, and my devotional addressed that. I wasn’t asked to speak again for ten years.
It hurts to have your toes stepped on. You know deep down you are wrong, or maybe pieces of what you are doing is wrong, but you just can’t admit that your dance is out of step with the Lord.
I believe the reason I was asked to speak later was that I never- never– said anything bad about the leadership or the organization. They were my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and we had different opinions. I still loved them and they still loved me.
Paul and Barnabas were good friends. They liked each other, traveled together, shared bread and drink, and called Jesus Lord.
In Acts 15, they had a disagreement that caused them to part company. I don’t know who was right. Maybe both were right.
But I suspect both of them were also wrong.
Their disagreement isn’t what I want you to notice. What I want you to notice isn’t there.
Not once- not one single time– does Paul condemn or slander Barnabas. We have many of Paul’s writings. We have historical records of the early church. If something was said, you can bet we’d know it.
You know what I mean.
You’re new to town, trying out a church, and within weeks you’re told the dirt on all the screw-ups. It doesn’t matter that the arguments started in 1986 when someone thought a new song book was a good idea. There are people you should just stay away from.
Your kids’ new friends from the Northeast don’t address their elders with “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir,” and they borrowed their neighbor’s garden hose without asking when the grill caught fire. The scuttlebutt is that the teen is a druggie and they’re all headed to jail. Better steer clear.
Maybe some of what others are saying is true. Maybe the family with the bright purple house is an eyesore and they don’t use their money wisely. But is it helping anyone to say it?
Sometimes the Bible tells us a lot by not telling us anything.
And sometimes we shouldn’t say anything either.
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NIV