relationships trump opinion! (well, they should)

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.- Ephesians 4:29-5:2

Lacey with “mama Maul”

Today’s post is nothing earth-shattering, just a simple reminder that community, family, and relationships are the most important priority in this journey we’re on, riding this curious orb on its spinning, rotating, revolving, headlong rush through space, holding on sometimes for dear life. 

It’s not our opinions; not our politics; not our I’m-right-you’re-wrong interpretations of particular passages in the Bible; not our social preferences; not our cultural milieu; not our race or our nationality….

What matters is our relationships.

THE EVIDENCE: A couple of things have reminded me about this oh-so-important truth this week.


First, the ongoing witness of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, where hundreds of good people worship together every week, knowing full well that their neighbors in the pew likely feel differently about any number of issues – social, political, or spiritual. But we are a faith community that teaches unity over uniformity, Jesus ahead of strictly codified doctrine, grace in place of unquestioning agreement, harmony instead of sameness, and love as a more important value than consensus.

  • Unity over uniformity,
  • Jesus ahead of strictly codified doctrine,
  • Grace in place of unquestioning agreement,
  • Harmony instead of sameness,
  • Love as a more important value than consensus.

Obviously we are not batting 1,000, and building Christ-centered community in this broken, fragmented world is a constant work in progress. But if we are teaching the world anything of Jesus via the way that we are, I pray that it is this, “That our words may give grace to those who hear.”

IMG_1905-001SERENDIPITY: Then – a brief serendipity – our daughter Naomi’s good friend (our good friend) Lacey stopped in for dinner and overnight on her way from Oklahoma to join her Army-officer husband in South Korea.

It was a good opportunity/excuse to prepare my best pasta and meat-sauce from scratch, bake some of Rebekah’s biscuits, pour some good Chianti, and enjoy a long evening of conversation.

Lacey has called us “Mama and Daddy Maul” ever since she and Naomi first started getting into trouble together as teens! It’s nice to pick up the relationship as grown-ups, and the evening was a good reminder that there is nothing that even comes close to defining who we are as human beings so well as relationships.

Nothing even comes close to defining who we are as human beings so well as relationships.

Fact is, we were created for relationship. Relationship with God and with one-another. And the moment we allow anything – opinion, politics, religion, social issues – to become more important to us than relationships (the very thing we were created for, and which Christ gave everything to heal!), then we are in trouble – serious trouble….

In love, and because of love – DEREK



One comment

  1. Derek,

    This post really made me remember how important it is to keep relationships as the top priority in life. I totally agree we need to put relationships in front of politics and uniformity. I think if we look to facilitate care for others rather than always having to prove how we are “right” and “better” than others this world would not have nearly as many problems as we do. I think it’s so beautiful how Jesus modeled community as not being all the same but being diverse and uniting in our love for God and each other.

    Thank you for your ministry,
    Aaron V. Lopez

    Liked by 1 person

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