15:36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Barnabas was determined and Paul insisted. Whenever two people have differing views and can have it no other way than their own the result is inevitable. Here we have two good men who love the Lord and want to see His kingdom grow fighting and then heading off in opposite directions. Surely this should not be.
Let's analyze what took place and see if we can learn from it for those times when we insist on having our way.
John Mark was the source of the dispute. As you will remember he had been traveling with them some time before but quit and went home. Now as they are about to head out again Barnabas wants to take him and Paul doesn't. Paul's reason is clear and supported by historical evidence. John Mark is a quitter and his being with them won't end well. Paul is banking on the theory that history always repeats itself.
So Paul has a valid reason for his position. Does Barnabas have a leg to stand on in this argument. I believe not only does he have a leg to stand on but it's the correct leg. Paul is seeing Mark for who he was on the last trip. Barnabas is seeing him for what he can be. Paul sees a failure. Barnabas sees potential.
Now before it seems I'm throwing Paul under the bus let me restate that both men have a valid position and the reason why they couldn't come to an agreement is because both refused to see the situation from any viewpoint but his own. There was room for a creative solution. There always is. However both dug in and we know the result which is a compliment to neither of them.
Now back to leg Barnabas is standing on; The second chance leg. The belief that people can learn and mature and grow. The belief that it's better to give a person the chance to fail than no chance at all. Where would any of us be if God didn't look at us like Barnabas saw John Mark? Paul would still be Saul and I dread to think of where I'd be.
The bottom line is always try and see the other persons point of view in any argument. In addition always question whether in the end your position has more potential to build people up or tear them down.
Blessed are the peacemakers but sometimes Jesus had to stand His ground because it's better to do right than make peace. Paul was a good man with a valid concern but Barnabas made the right call. The call to build up a person who had made a mistake.