Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, 2 complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. 3 Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. 4 Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
7 But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,
10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow
11 and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:1-11, CEB
If we’re going to live in community, then we have to learn how to respect and value differences of thought and opinion. No two people are ever going to be perfectly of the same mind. These verses to tell us to think the same way. As we’ve said before, this isn’t about having the same opinions, it’s about a mutual commitment to let God’s spirit guide your mind. Sometimes, that spirit is going to take us to different places. That’s okay. It may even be good.
Diversity comes with the territory when you live in community, it’s unavoidable. So we have to consider how we react to people whose views are different from ours. We must learn to practice the patience, gentleness, peace, patience, kindness, etc. that God’s spirit brings in order to be able to love and serve “the other” in our differences. We set aside hostility and fear in favor of unity of our “big picture” purpose to love God and love others. This doesn’t mean we set our views aside, but it means we dialogue about them in productive ways, rather than using inflammatory language and accusations. Honestly, what good could that possibly even do? Instead, we pause to prepare and discuss with a cool head and an open heart. In this way, we live out Paul’s call to live in harmony amidst difference.