Acts 15:36-41 (NLT)
36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, �Let�s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.� 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord�s gracious care. 41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.


Paul had proposed he and Barnabas tour the newly founded churches to see the progress which had been made and to see how The Gospel had spread. Barnabas wanted to take along his nephew as an assistant. It was common to take a younger man to accompany them so the younger man could learn as well as help the older men. Paul however did not want John Mark to go because on a previous occasion he had left them during their journey and returned to Jerusalem. Barnabas favored his nephew while Paul could not get past the previous incident. It became a strong disagreement between Paul and Barnabas to the point where Barnabas went on his way with John Mark and Paul went on his way with Silas.


Here in these verses we find a sharp disagreement between two Christians. Paul had made up his mind that John Mark was not going with them. This possibly offended Barnabas, since John Mark was his nephew. We see a principle here that when someone has made a decision the only person who can change their mind about the decision is themselves. Paul wasn�t changing his mind and neither was Barnabas. So often we want to mold someone to our will. We want them to perform to our desires. We want them to follow our actions. We desire they would follow our lead because we feel it is the right thing. THE TRUTH IS: YOU CANNOT MAKE SOMEONE DO SOMETHING THEY WISH NOT TO DO. No one can control another even though we may attempt with threats, coercion or avoidance (not speaking or visiting). All one can do is set boundaries and follow the boundaries they are comfortable with. Barnabas felt comfortable taking his nephew, while Paul did not. So Paul set a boundary he would go his separate way with Silas. However we do see Paul�s heart soften for John Mark in later years when he writes from prison to fellow Colossians to welcome and receive John Mark.