PORCUPINE CHRISTIANS By: Patsy Weiser
In this life, disagreements are inevitable. They are going to happen. There are many reasons why siblings, spouses, friends, co-workers, etc. get into disagreements. Most of the time, these disagreements are the result of personality clashes or differences of opinion.
We must remember that the person we are clashing with is not our enemy or adversary. However, we do have a very real enemy named Satan, and he is an expert at causing division and strife. Scripture tells us in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” (NLT) The thief in that verse is Satan, and he tries to bring division into all of our relationships in an attempt to destroy them.
Even spiritual maturity in Christians does not always erase personality differences that can lead to disagreements and clashes. This is evident in Acts 15: 36-41 where Paul and Barnabas, who were seasoned missionaries, got into a disagreement on whom to take on their missionary journey. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated company and each went a different direction. However, God always gets His way and He can turn what Satan means for harm into something for His good. That is exactly what happened in this case. Instead of only one missionary trip, it turned into two and many more peoples’ lives were touched by these men. The fact that God uses imperfect men and women in His service should encourage all of us to get involved in serving Him.
When you find yourself in the middle of a clash with someone, there are some things to keep in mind. Try not to engage your emotions in the situation. This may be easier said than done. Also do not allow yourself to become bitter and try to get other people on your side by gossiping about it. Do not keep rehearsing the disagreement in your mind. Pray about it to see if there is a Godly quality that God might be trying to perfect in you. Take responsibility for your actions and try to resolve the situation quickly, if possible. God often puts people into our lives to sand our rough edges and a difficult relationship can create God-like qualities in us if we will open ourselves up to it. Remember we don’t need fruits of the spirit with people that agree with us. The Lord works good things even from our weaknesses and failures. Above all else, pray for the person you have clashed with. Ephesians 4: 2, 3 tells us to “be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of our love ….and binding ourselves together with peace.” (NLT) With God’s help, restoration can happen and we can grow spiritually as a result. Something positive can happen even from a disagreement. We don’t need to be a porcupine Christian.
(Based on notes from sermon by Pastor Terry D. Horton- Aug. 12, 2012)