The challenge with the saying ‘surround yourself with like-minded people’, is that we are usually attracted to people who think like us. Psychologists have shown that in varying contexts, people are attracted or drawn to those who look like them and think like them.
For example, when employers are hiring for a job, they are more likely to employ someone who thinks like them, looks like them, talks like them and even shares things in common with them that are unrelated to the job in question. Think about when you entered a lecture hall for the first time, or a networking event, it is likely that you were drawn to those who ‘looked’ like you, under the assumption that they may ‘think’ like you and concomitantly be like-minded. Recent research has revealed that the environment that you live in has a ‘personality’ or mindset which is salient enough to impact and shape the way that you think (Bleidorn et al., 2016).
While this may be a good thing in some cases. In many cases, it can be a key factor in encouraging a lack of growth, faulty mindsets presented as the norm and subtle ignorance to Christ-like thinking.
The call to surround yourself with like-minded people should be supported by statements to explain what we mean by like-minded, or altogether change the common phrase for the sake of clarity.
Romans 15:5 says, ‘now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one towards another according to Christ Jesus‘.
This scripture is not a charge to think in the same way, nor to be in agreement with one another. It is talking about Christlike conduct and in this instance being like-minded means thinking and acting like Christ. If we are more Christlike in our thinking and conduct, then the hope is that we will attract Christ-minded people. However, we all have moments were we fall short or lapse in our Christlike thinking and its in momenst like this where I say…
I want to be surrounded by people who think more like Christ and less like me – less like my carnal mind. I don’t necessarily want like-minded people to surround me. I need Christ-minded people to surround me.
So when we use or discuss the term like-minded, we shouldn’t automatically dismiss people who do not share our views or our doctrine and say that they are not like-minded. We should hold their views, their thoughts and their values to the standard that Christ set, and think about whether or not they are like-minded to Christ and not to ourselves. (Ref: 2 Corinthians 10:5)
In summary, it is nice to have like-minded people around you but it is better to have Christ-minded people around you. People who are not afraid to challenge you to look more like Him, speak more like Him, and be more like Him. Moreover, aside from the Christian context, if we are never challenged, we will never grow. In life, you need to be exposed to people who think differently, in order to open your mind to different perspectives in this evolving world. Don’t be afraid to be challenged, be afraid of never growing.
Christ-minded > Like-minded (1 Corinthians 2:16)
N.B. It has been a while since I posted! Please forgive and have mercy for my quietness lol. In the midst of full-time work, my masters and life in general, I’ve had to put my baby doctorkanayo.com on the back burner. I have a whole journal full of blog posts which I will be sharing to keep you my amazing readers engaged. God bless you all and keep in touch xx
Bleidorn, W., Schönbrodt, F., Gebauer, J. E., Rentfrow, P. J., Potter, J., & Gosling, S. D. (2016). To live among like-minded others: Exploring the links between person-city personality fit and self-esteem. Psychological science, 27(3), 419-427.