Tuesday, May 02, 2006

relationships over being right

In a true sense to put relationships as being opposite of being right- is wrong. Truth is important. Grace and truth are put together in Scripture (John), of course. Meaning that truth without grace, or grace without truth- is missing something vital. Truth is the basis for our understanding grace and relationships. Yet grace is the way we receive truth, as a gift from God. Therefore both are really inseparable in God's universe.

I am sorry to see relationships take a back seat to being "right". None of us is entirely "right". Does that mean we vacate truth and say truth doesn't matter? Of course not. Does that mean that there are no evil people in the world, or people who in word and deed lead others astray? Scripture makes it clear that some "Christian" teachers can be false. And therefore they and their teaching must be rejected.

What I'm getting at is how we in the Jesus community seem, often times, in the tenor of our spirituality, to value being right over being in good relationship with God and with our fellow human beings. Jesus didn't say that the first and great commandment and the second like it amount to being right in one's orthodoxy or even orthopraxy (practice of the faith). But that one is to love God with their entire being and doing- and one is to love their neighbor as themselves. True, mind is included in our loving God. But this is still talking about relationship.

If we're to be like Jesus, let us put first things first. First, our relationship with God. Second, but like it, and parallel to it, our relationship with other human beings. Jesus didn't care that others misunderstood or were taken back by his association with the tax collectors and sinners. Nor did Jesus draw back from loving even Judas to the end, calling him "friend" on the eve of his crucifixion.

A healthy Jesus community is characterized by love for one another. And love for the world of people. And this love expresses itself in deed and word. Pointing others to the God who is love. And who so loved the world that he gave his Son to save it.

Lord, Let us love one another, just as you have loved us. And let us do so to the end. And let us open ourselves up to loving others, even the unloveables. Let us be known, not for being "right", but for how much we love. Amen.


Scot McKnight said...

This is a wise set of words, and it is much easier to state than live out -- at least for me.

It is easy to love those we like;
difficult to love those we don't like;
Jesus calls us to love both.

Ted Gossard said...

You're so right; certainly true for me as well. Thanks!

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...


Man, this is spooky. I have half written a post with the same topic, almost the same title! I am writing it as it applies as an affirming critique from within the emerging church conversation. Hats off to you!


Ted Gossard said...


Write it! I'm sure it'll add much more to this thought. Thanks!