Have you ever been the weirdo at church? Worn the wrong clothes to church, clapped at the wrong beat in worship, or God forbid, had a different political slant than the lead pastor? Fitting in to the church body can be an asset, even a comfort, but it is not a requirement to being part of the Body of Christ. If it were easy to get along with other people, especially our Christian brethren, do you think so much of the New Testament, and in fact Jesus’s own teaching would revolve around learning to love one another?
I’m a fairly opinionated person. I know, that makes me so unique. Some might say I’m an unfairly opinionated person. My goat is a little too easily got to much of a worthy sacrifice. Holding my tongue is one thing, stilling my mind from having righteous arguments with people who aren’t even in the same room as me is a whole ‘nuther thang. Again, join the crowd, right? Fortunately there is another crowd to consider, the crowd of witnesses that faith promises. Paul writes in Philippians 1:27 “The one thing I would stress is this: your public behavior must match up to the gospel of the King.” he goes on to say in Chapter 2, “If our shared life in the King brings any comfort; if love still has the power to make you cheerful; if we really do have partnership in the Spirit; if your hearts at all moved with affection and sympathy-then make my joy complete! Bring your thinking in line with one another.”
Two thousand years ago Paul knew what we would bethinking upon hearing those words so he goes on to say, “Here’s how to do it. Hold on to the same love, bring your inner life into harmony and fix your mind to never operate out of selfish ambition or vanity; instead regard everybody else as your superior. Look after each other’s best interest, rather than your own.”
Paul wraps up his exhortation with the reminder that we belong to the Messiah first, and because of that we belong to each other. Jesus says we will be known by the love we have for each other. That’s it. The whole criteria is the love we have for each other, without that we’d all be misfits, clanging gongs in the backseat of a bus with no wheels.