Repairing Contentions

At the end of 2 Timothy, Paul requested to have Mark. Why is that significant? Let’s go back to some history in Acts. Do you remember when Peter was freed from prison? Acts 12:5 says, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

They were gathered at Mary’s house, the mother of John. Verse 12 says, “…whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” John Mark was Barnabas’ cousin. Verse 25 says that he traveled with Paul and Barnabas. 

Acts 15:37-38 says that Barnabas was determined to take Mark on their next journey. Paul strongly opposed the idea. Verse 38 reveals why. It says that he departed, “…from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.” Verse 39 seems surprising. However, we have to remember that we are all humans who still sin. It says, “Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another…”

The enemy of our soul is determined to destroy relationships. He seeks to undermine our faith and the ministry the Lord calls us to. Beware of contentions. Titus 3:9 says, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.” Proverbs 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife…” 

Proverbs 18:19 Amplified says, “A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city, and (their) contentions separate them like the bars of a castle.” Do you remember what was said of Joseph’s brothers? Genesis 37:4 says, “…they could not speak peaceably to him.” That is a huge clue of an offended heart. The heart is not at peace because it is carrying an offense. It is an unresolved issue. Harsh words, and tense body language is a tell tale sign of hidden sin.

Titus 3:3 is our mandate at all times in our interpersonal relationships. It says, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” Here is another good one. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

If there is a breach in a relationship, then we need to mend it through humility and forgiveness. Psalm 15:2-3 is a great guideline. It says, “He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend.”

Paul is an example we can follow. Though Scripture does not fill in all the blanks, his last words reveal a changed heart towards Mark. 2 Timothy 4:11 says, “…Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” The Greek word for useful is very profitable. 

We are all members of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:25 says, “That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” Schism means division. We must remain united to collectively oppose and resist the enemy’s advances. He is defeated, but he captures his victims through deceit.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 says, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” 

Verse 26 continued the thought, “and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” Shun satan’s will! Bring truth into your heart. Make it your own experience that will keep you free.

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