Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. - Philippians 2:1-5
What does it mean to agree wholeheartedly with one another?
After reading this earlier this week, I have been pondering this perplexing statement. What does it mean for Christians to agree wholeheartedly with each other? Is Paul telling the church to completely abandon our opinions and beliefs and just agree with everyone who claims they are a Christian?
Not at all. Rather, he was telling us to be "like-minded."
I believe when Paul wrote this, he was basically just re-quoting something from the book of Amos:
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? - Amos 3:3
What Amos is stating here is that two people cannot move forward together if they are in disagreement.
Say they are traveling together on a road. One person wants to go one way, and the other wants to go the other. If they are disagreeing about which way is best, eventually, they will each go their separate ways. It is impossible to travel with someone who completely disagrees with you on every turn!
This is the message Paul is trying to get across to the church. If we are constantly disagreeing with silly things inside the church, the church will eventually collapse. This is why we need to make sure to respect the opinions of others and not force ours onto others.
Each of us have different opinions and there is nothing wrong that. But as a church, we need to sometimes set our opinions aside and be like-minded in love as Paul says to do.
In other words, we need to stop arguing over every little thing. We need to get tougher skin and stop being a church of offended people. God does not call us to be offended. He calls us to be loving, considering others to be better than ourselves.
However, this also means that we need to discipline those in the church who refuse to be "like-minded." Please understand what I mean by this. This does not mean to just kick out anyone that has a different opinion. This means to handle conflict the way Jesus tells us to in Matthew:
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector."
According to Jesus, it is the church's responsibility to discipline a members who refuse to be like-minded. This includes members who are hurting others, gossiping, slandering, or just downright having non-biblical beliefs that turn others away from the Truth. At this point, the church is supposed to rebuke the person. If that doesn't work, then those people need to be removed from the church.
Mind you, this is not talking about those that are not members of the church or people who do not come to the church. This is talking specifically about those who are members in the church. Paul also discusses this in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13:
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
It isn't our responsibility to judge those out of the church, but inside the church. We are meant to love each other, be like-minded in Christ, hold each other accountable to Christ, and think of each other as better than ourselves. If we don't, our churches won't stand a chance.