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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: Eugene’ as in… I’ve been celebrating my late friend Eugene Peterson’s birthday all week. Eugene was a pastor, scholar, theologian, author, and poet. He published over thirty books, but he is probably best known as the translator of The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Eugene’s passion was to make the original meaning of the Bible accessible to people today. He did that for me; his life and work have impacted me in ways I’m still measuring. During one of our conversations, we discussed the importance of generous relationships. He reminded me of his translation of part of Matthew 5 in The Message Bible:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”

We all belong to some relational network of friends, lovers, spouses, family members, sons, daughters, in-laws, coworkers, people we know well, and people we may not know well or even at all. Because we share the same air, because we share the same space, the same sunlight, the same rain – the same everything, we must learn ways of living together that make it possible for all of us to thrive together. The question is not, “How do we become more like one another?” The question is, “How do we come together more intentionally to affirm the many ways we bring life and aliveness to one another?

Thriving Reflections:

++ Consider one of your primary relationships and ask yourself, “How can I bring less of ‘me or you’ and more of ‘we and us’ to this relationship?

++ What would happen if you made a concerted effort to focus less on your partner’s shortcomings and your needs and more on your shortcomings and your partner’s needs?

Bonus: This short film documents the friendship between Bono (of the band U2) and Eugene Peterson revolving around their common interest in the Psalms. Based on interviews conducted by Fuller Seminary faculty member David Taylor and produced in association with Fourth Line Films, the film highlights in particular a conversation on the Psalms that took place between Bono, Peterson, and Taylor at Peterson’s Montana home.



Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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