Dorothy sat on our couch weeping. “I am so hurt. I feel betrayed. We were like family. Why would they put strategy and culture above me and my future?” She and her team leader had a huge disagreement. This clash of opinions meant a slammed door on her hopes and dreams. She wanted to forgive them. She wanted to have a restored relationship, but it didn’t look possible.
How does this minister of the Gospel obey the Apostle Paul’s directive to “be of the same mind” (Philippians 4:2)? What do ministry partners do when they clash? When Paul told Euodia & Syntyche to be of the same mind, he was using the same verb (phroneo) that he used in chapter two when he told them to have the mindset of Christ.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind…In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.Philippians 2:1,2,5
Because of this, I believe being of the same mind means we are to have the mindset of Christ—to be Christlike. So, what does this look like?
1. The mindset of Christ is humble.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5b).
2. The mindset of Christ thinks of others first.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6–7).
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3–4).
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:23–24).
3. The mindset of Christ loves others by being kind, compassionate, patient, gentle.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).
4. The mindset of Christ overlooks faults and forgives hurts.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:13–14).
5. The mindset of Christ accepts others where they are and does not judge their actions and motives.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Romans 15:7).
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (Romans 14:10).
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters (Romans 14:1).
6. The mindset of Christ serves others.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).
7. The mindset of Christ leads to peace.
[Jesus said,] “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19).
8. The mindset of Christ is NOT conceited or jealous or bent on arguing.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:26).
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (1 Corinthians 3:3)
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters( Romans 14:1).
Dorothy and her team leader should consider setting aside some time for self-examination asking the Holy Spirit to guide and teach. Some questions to ponder may be:
- How might pride and personal gain be governing my words and responses?
- Is my attitude “my way or the highway”, or am I willing to entertain other opinions? How so?
- How am I showing humility?
- Have I listened—really listened—to the other side (doesn’t mean I have to agree, only that I seek to understand)? Without interruption? Without defensiveness? Without justifying?
- How is my style of leadership—or following—working out for everyone concerned? Do I need to reconsider my style?
- How have I communicated my perspective with kindness and grace, without defensiveness and deflection?
- Am I expecting the other party to acknowledge that I am right? Have I used persuasive and manipulative words to get them to see “my side”? Identify them.
- How can I consider and communicate that I care about the needs of the other party?
- Am I quarreling over nonessential matters? What is this quarrel really about?
- Am I giving allowance for a “weaker” believer? What faults or weaknesses can I overlook?
- Am I jealous or envious of the other party? How so?
- How can I pursue an outcome that will lead to peace—not necessarily uniformity?
- How can I best serve the other party? Show love and compassion?
- What/Who do I need to forgive?
- In what ways am I judging the other party for their actions and beliefs?
Father, help me to put on the mindset of Christ in all my relationships. I cannot do this on my own. I need your Holy Spirit to reveal to me the ways that I am acting in selfishness and defensiveness. And I need Him to help me to act as Christ did in love, compassion, humility, thinking of others above myself. Lord, restore broken relationships, in Jesus’ name.