WHY CAN’T WE GET ALONG?
Genesis 13:5-7, “And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled them in the land.”
May I tell you why some of God’s people cannot get along with each other and how to cure it? May I tell you why church troubles occur and why pastors become disenchanted with their church members and why their people become disenchanted with their pastors? May I tell you why most marriages are having problems and how to cure those problems?
Let me give you four different passages about strife in the Scriptures. The first one is found in Genesis 13:5-7 with Abraham and Lot. The second is found in Numbers chapter 12 with strife between Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. The third is found in Acts 15:36-39 with strife occurring between Paul and Barnabas. The fourth is found in Galatians 2:11-14 with Paul withstanding Peter to his face.
We read in Genesis chapter 13 about the strife between Abraham and Lot’s herdsmen and their separation because of their strife. We read in Numbers chapter 12 about the strife between Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam. We read in the book of Acts chapter 15 and find that the Apostle Paul had strife with Barnabas. Then we go to the book of Galatians’ chapter 2 we read about the strife the Apostle Paul had with the Apostle Peter.
Why do some husbands and wives not get along with each other? Why is there trouble and strife in some churches? Why is there trouble and strife between leaders in fundamentalism?
In a question and answer session a preacher asked Dr. Jack Hyles, “Why is it that leaders can’t get along with each other like they have in the past? I’m sick and tired of our leaders in fundamentalism not getting along with each other!” Dr. Hyles replied, “You mean like Paul and Barnabas? Is that what you are referring to from the past? You mean like Paul and Peter got along in the past? You mean like Paul and John Mark got along?” John Mark quit Paul and turned back. Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles and Paul rebuked him to his face because he was to be blamed.
Dr. Hyles continued, “You mean like John Wesley and George Whitfield got along? They couldn’t get along with each other! Do you mean like J. Frank Norris and John R. Rice? They had a serious falling out! You mean like John R. Rice and Bob Jones Sr.? Dr. Rice wrote articles about Bob Jones Sr. and printed them in THE SWORD OF THE LORD publication and Bob Jones Sr. retaliated by writing a book against John Rice. Is that what you mean? You mean like John R. Rice and Billy Graham? Do you mean like J. Frank Norris and G. B. Vick who split the Bible Baptist Fellowship down the middle? Do you mean like John Calvin and Martin Luther King who would hardly speak to each other? Do you mean like Abraham and Lot? Do you mean like Moses, Aaron and Miriam?"
The Scriptures let us into the world of leaders in Bible times and it’s a funny thing they act just like leaders do in the 21st Century! Here is what we want we want the assets and of strength of without its corresponding liabilities but that is impossible.
If you want a strong leader like Barnabas then you had better expect the occasional clash with an Apostle Paul over a John Mark. If you want a great leader like the Apostle Paul you had better expect him every once in a while to rebuke an Apostle Peter. If you want an aggressive person like Paul then expect him to be impatient with a John Mark. If you want a dynamic person like the Apostle Peter then expect some impetuous behavior. If you want a broken hearted Jeremiah whose tender hearted and emotional then expect an occasional period of depression where he might consider quitting.
Our problem is this we like the strength of a husband, but we don’t like the necessary liability that goes with strength. Wait a minute! If you take away his strength you will take away what drew you to him and you will take away what you don’t like about him in the process and thus lose what attracted you to him and then you will lose him.
All of us have things about ourselves that we do not like. I’m stubborn and I don’t’ like that quality but could it be that if I take away my stubbornness that I could in so doing take away my courage in the process? Could it be if I take away my stubbornness that I would remove my willingness to fight for what is right?
If you want a loving person like John who loves Jesus then you can full well expect him to want to seat beside Jesus in the Kingdom. If you want a leader like Moses who can go up to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go!” Then you can expect an occasional fit of temper. If want a bland leader like Aaron then expect him to give in o the people and make a golden calf. If you want a pastor with courage and conviction expect him to have stubbornness.
If you want your wife to run the finances, the business aspect, and run the household affairs then don’t expect to run her. She runs the finances, the household affairs, and the business affairs of the home, and then you expect her to let you run her. You want is the asset without the liability and the truth is you will not get it!
The Apostle Peter was the greatest Christian of his day but he had negatives. The Apostle Paul was the greatest preacher and missionary of his day but the Apostle Paul one time took a Jewish vow. If you expect the Apostle Paul to love the Jews like he did, according to Romans chapter 10, and have that burden for the Jews then don’t be surprised to see him compromise and end up shaving his head and taking a Jewish vow.
What we want is the asset without the liability and that is why you ask, “Why can’t we get along?” You want the positives without the negatives and that is why you are not happily married because you want a husband that has on one side strength without having stubbornness on the other side. What you husbands want is the most beautiful woman inn the world that no one else will look at!
You want a husband who is a Moses at work and an Aaron at home. You want a husband who’s a giant outside of the home and a mouse inside of the home. Men, you want a wife to help you make the living who doesn’t expect you to help her with the dishes. Have I missed any one so far in this article?
You want a wife who will go to a place of leadership at work and come home and be submissive at night. You want a loving sentimental wife who doesn’t weep when she’s disappointed in you. Ladies you want a loving husband who doesn’t want all of you. Men you want an opinionated wife who will always agree with you. Ladies, you want a decisive man that you can tell what to do.
Deacons want a strong, dynamic, and pungent preacher whom you can control. Churches all over America want a strong leader that they can put their thumbs on. When I came to Longview in 1980 to pastor the Longview Baptist Temple the very people who worked hard to get me here worked as hard to get me out of here because they fount out I wasn’t a puppet.
You men want a wife to go to work and be a Jane Fonda, then come home and behave like Mother Teresa, while being as attractive as Marilyn Monroe, and cook like Aunt Jemima. The truth is she goes to work like Mother Teresa while coming home like Jane Fonda and then cooking like Marilyn Monroe, and looking like Aunt Jemima.
You women want a superman outside the home whose Clark Kent at home. You women want a husband who can control every situation but you!
You cannot have a strong leader without him or her possessing a dominant trait. You cannot have protection and provision without possession of dominance. You cannot have wisdom without opinion. You cannot have zeal without impatience. What you dear ladies and church members want is a dominant Barney Fife. You want someone who will holler at someone and say, “Take your hands off of my wife!” and then you say to him, “Take your hands off of me!”
You want a General Milk Toast, a bland leader, an emotional stoic, and a mousey lion! You want a preacher like Paul who acts like Norman Vincent Peale, a preacher who will holler at the homosexuals, but not at you children, and a preacher who is a great fighter as long as a member you can choose the battle. You want a submissive general, a patriotic pacifist, a passionate Eunuch, and an outgoing recluse.
You cannot have the fire for warmth without the potential of being burned. The same water that refreshes you can drown you. The same gun that protects you can kill you.
If the greatest missionary who ever lived had on the one side of a positive a negative of being impatient with a young preacher then why expect any thing else from those in your life? If God could use one of the greatest men and most sacrificial men in the entire Bible named Barnabas, who loved his nephew so much that he split up from the Apostle Paul, then why expect any thing else from those around us?
If the two greatest Christians in the history of mankind, the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter would fuss with each other then why do we expect any thing different? If the great John Wesley and the great George Whitfield had problems with each other then why are we so surprised? If John Calvin and Martin Luther King could not get along with each other what is the big news about leaders not getting along? If John Rice and J. Frank Norris split with each others and Bob Jones Sr. and John Rice exchanged verbal barbs via the printed page why the shock?
It just may be that all of us have some things about us that are not extremely desirable by the rest of us.
· Choose relationships based on assets expecting corresponding liabilities
· Always choose truth over assets and friendships
· Thank God for the positives of assets
· Expect the corresponding negatives of liabilities
· Focus on the assets while accepting the liabilities
· The weakness should be a reminder of the strengths
· Remind yourself you cannot have just assets
· Identify the corresponding liabilities so you know what to expect
· Remind yourself the weaknesses are necessary in order to have the strengths
· Do not reject them when you discover their weaknesses because you are thus rejecting the corresponding strengths