Read Philippians 3-4:3
Two women in the church in Philipi had a difference of opinion. Others must have noticed their quarreling because someone had told Paul about it. (Remember, he was in prison, in Rome.) Paul urged them to “agree in the Lord” and for someone who knew how to do that to help them (Philippians 4:2-3). Paul didn’t go into detail here; he had already covered this in a previous letter to the church in Rome. But, settling disputes among people in the churches was an important issue to him because of the way it interrupted their work together to plant churches, to tell others about knowing God through faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, to know God in a personal way, to relate to him. This whole letter had been about standing firmly together, showing endurance and strength in all of that. He wasn’t about to let a difference of opinion between two good people destroy such good work. Yet, he never expected everyone to always agree, to have the same opinion about such things as dress, hair, food, celebrations of historical events, cultural or family traditions. He expected mature Christians to accept each other’s differences, yet get along.
BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR GETTING ALONG (Romans 12-15)
Paul gave specific instructions to the church in Rome about how to get along with each other so he did not need to repeat it all here. He told them to:
- Don’t think of yourself and your opinions as better than others. Don’t be haughty or think of yourself as wise (12:3,16,17).
- Don’t quarrel over opinions or look down on someone who has a different view about these “lesser things” (14:1,10).
- Be patient with their weaknesses and the ways they fail. Seek to help them be stronger Christians (15:1-2).
- Do something kind for them instead of making yourself look or feel good (15:3).
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:4-7).
In other words, don’t pick on one another when you have different opinions.