All that you need for a difference of opinion is two passionate people. It is a fact of life that where two or three are gathered together there will be more than one idea! The greater the cause we are passionate about, the stronger we hold to our ideals. There is a great little passage where this occurs in the book of Philippians. Two friends Paul has worked with in the past are having a falling out. Philippians 4:3 ‘And I ask you my partner to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling the good news.’ I love how the Apostle Paul deals with this situation. Paul doesn’t condemn anyone because he knows these are two good hearted Christians. What he does do is refocus them by reminding them how they’ve worked hard together for the greatest cause on the planet. You get a sense that he wants to revisit the cause for some perspective so everyone can get on with what they were gifted to do.
In the very next verse there is an abrupt change of topic or so it seems. Philippians 4:4 ‘Always be full of the joy of the Lord, I say it again rejoice!.’ I believe that Paul is hinting that this is the antidote. To ensure that a difference of opinion doesn’t lead to ongoing conflict we must endeavour to keep the joy of the Lord central to everything we do. When we serve with joy acknowledging the honour it is to be called a child of the living God all our petty differences fade to insignificance. That is the joy of joy.