We have been blessed by Christ our Lord with each other, we are each other’s platform to serve according to the instruction of Christ. However, time comes when we have to separate ourselves from each other. Not because we no longer like each other or no longer want each other’s company, but because at that particular point in time Christ would be sending us to different directions.
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 – Acts 15
The disagreement between these two was not so great that they had to separate. They had far better joy working together than to be separated by a difference in opinion. However, it was not the disagreement that separated them, it was instead time for them to go apart. What Christ had brought them together in that specific season for was accomplished.
Our relationships with others cannot supercede that of Christ. He is the one whom we have a permanent relationship with and because of that, our relationship with Him supercedes every other relationship we have with others. A semi permanent relationship He has given to us is one with a spouse. It is semi because the spouse can die, or the two can be separated by divorce. However, nothing can separate us from Christ except ourselves. Children grow and follow their own paths, so even families grow apart.
Galatians 2 tells us of a situation that occurred in Antioch when Peter came to visit the brethren. Before this situation, scripture tells us that Paul had first gone to Jerusalem to visit the Apostles as instructed by the Holy Spirit. Whilst he was there, he disclosed to them all the work he had done with the gentiles, this to get affirmation from the people who had walked with Christ directly as he says, ‘lest I have laboured in vain’. Indeed the Apostles affirmed his track to be right. However, one of these same Apostles, when in Antioch his behaviour changes, which kind of raises controversy.
Again, such disputes Christ allows them to arise so as for Him to remain Christ. Peter knew the truth, but for some reason he didn’t act it at that time. In this case, Paul is made to rise up and correct the error. We first have to realise that this is the same Paul who learned everything directly from the Holy Spirit, yet he needed affirmation from the Apostles. In this scenario we see Christ asserting Himself in Paul’s ministry again by bringing a dispute between him and Peter. He can never have us putting others above Himself so as to always remember that He is the final word. Yes, have those you respect and hold highly as more knowledgeable and mature than you, but Christ has the final say.
Being in Christ teaches us never to be attached in relationships, such that we defy His instruction when it is time to leave things behind.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. – Matthew 10:37
He wants to come above all relationships that we have. Whenever He sends us on an assignment or place us wherever He needs us to be, He gives us people or a companion to work with. But, sometimes we tend to define the relationship for ourselves instead of allowing Christ who has brought us together to define it. We then find ways to stay in each other’s lives even when time has come for us to part, for the purpose of that relationship in that particular season would have been fulfilled. It is not to say we must do away with each other completely, it is just to say we should learn to be attached only to Christ and He will continuously bring us together whenever He needs us to work together. This is what He did even with Paul and Barnabas, He got them to reconcile when it was necessary.
Even in the world of business we understand that loyalty has an expiry date, otherwise it can cost you. Friendships even, people outgrow each other as they move through different aspects of life. You might say that “we have been friends for so and so years and our friendship has withstood the tests of time”, but the real question is – did it withstand or is it just that you refuse to grow?
We are to nature our children to adulthood; honor our parents; love and submit to our spouses and love our brethren. Anything beyond that is not a must do, so as to keep our focus purely and fixed on Christ. He is the one who will organise our relationships as and when He deems it necessary. Therefore, let us learn to love one another but be less attached to each other, so as to be attached to Christ.