The Relational Covenant
- Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder
- Believe the Best
- Talk To, Not About
IMPACT ON DISCIPLESHIP:
But why is the principle “Believe the Best” so essential to discipleship? Because sometimes, you will disagree with the life choices of the person you are meeting with. Sometimes, his or her choices will be obvious, Biblical sin that is clear, and thus simple to point out and rebuke. However, other times, their choices may not be sin. They may just make choices you wouldn’t make. Maybe they don’t value punctuality like you do, or think it’s important to detail their car each week like you do. However, that doesn’t make the person you’re meeting with wrong or less deserving of God’s love. Or perhaps they are thoughtless, but that doesn’t mean they are intentionally rude. If you assign dastardly or sinful motives to choices that are not clearly sin, if you are easily and quickly offended, you will damage your relationship and possibly even cause spiritual scarring. BUT, if you choose to Believe the Best about this person, choose to live in humility and not your own wisdom, you will find the clear path to genuine conversation and deep friendship.
Barnabas is perhaps our very greatest Biblical example in choosing to Believe the Best. He first Believes the Best about Saul, and then later about John Mark. Both these men went on to become pillars of the early church, in large part thanks to Barnabas’ choices in how he interacted with them.
You probably know that Paul – the apostle to the Gentiles and author of a large chunk of the New Testament – was originally Saul, persecutor of the early Church (Acts 8:1). After Saul’s dramatic conversion at the beginning of Acts 9, he went to work for the sake of the Gospel in Samaria and Damascus (Gal. 1:17), and then tried to join the original apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26). However, not one of the disciples [the people on earth who knew Jesus most intimately!] would welcome him – they didn’t believe that he was really a disciple, and they were afraid of him. Only Barnabas chose to Believe the Best about Saul. Barnabas approached Saul, brought him to the disciples, and advocated for him in front of the disciples. Could Saul truly have had the impact he did without the apostles’ blessing? Can you imagine the blow to the Church — especially to the early Gentile churches — had Barnabas not chosen to Believe the Best about Saul?
We see Barnabas again at work Believing the Best in John Mark’s ordeal. John Mark, a young follower of Jesus, accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25), but returned home when things got hard (Acts 15:37). When John Mark wanted to try again on a later missionary journey, Paul refused to bring him along. Barnabas, however, chose to Believe the Best about John Mark, and even parted ways with Paul in order to give John Mark another chance (Acts 15:39). His faith was not misplaced. John Mark went on to become something of a personal assistant to Peter (1 Peter 5:13), even transcribing Peter’s recollections of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark (see your study Bible’s authorship note on Mark). John Mark also eventually served again with Paul (Colossians 4:10, Philemon 24), and is commended by Paul as “helpful to” him in his ministry; so much so, in fact, that Paul requested John Mark’s presence in his final days (2 Timothy 4:11). Isn’t it amazing to see the impact of just one person choosing to Believe the Best in a discipleship relationship [not to mention, Standing Shoulder-to-Shoulder with him in their shared calling to “go and make disciples”] ?!
YOU KNOW YOU BELIEVE THE BEST IF:
- You are grace-filled, not judgment-oriented
- You humbly overlook minor offenses
- You don’t assume the worst
- You are willing to admit you were wrong
- You are respectful, compassionate, and loving in word and deed
- You are quick to reconcile when there is wrong and encourage others toward maturity in Christ
- You are trusting and trustworthy
- You believe the Spirit can and is fulfilling His purposes in the believers around you
©2018 by Jack McQueeney. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without express permission.
The Apprentice Approach is about helping every-day people master the art of disciplemaking and grew out of the fact that…. Many Christians struggle with making disciples, they feel busy, overwhelmed and not qualified. We understand this struggle which is why we created a Bible based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking! One of our outcomes is seeing the folks we engage with walk away saying, “I can do that!”