Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote a beautiful book entitled “Life of the Beloved.” A short and valuable read, it explores the possibility of spiritual living in a secular world.
During Advent, I read Nouwen’s Advent devotional. The entry for Day 21 was entitled, “Belovedness Belongs to All.” I was challenged to see not only myself, but all people as the beloved of God.
A day or so later, I was at the mall. Crowded with last minute shoppers, there were plenty of people to observe. As too often happens, I made instant observations (hear “judgments”) about the people I encountered. “Nice hair.” “Weird outfit.” “Too thin.” “Too fat.” “Good parent.” “Bad parent.” And on it went.
As I walked out of Macy’s, I stopped the chatter in my brain and really noticed several people coming in and intentionally thought, “She is the beloved of God.” “He is the beloved of God.”
You know what it did? It leveled the playing field. You see, when I allow myself to make instantaneous judgments about others, even unconsciously, I elevate someone – either me or the other person. Essentially, I am saying I am better than or worse than what I am seeing. When in reality, we are all the same. We are all the beloved of God.
As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”Mark 1:10-11
As children of God, brothers and sister of Christ, we are the beloved of God. We don’t earn it and we certainly don’t deserve it. But it is what we are.
Try it – make your mantra today this simple phrase:
I am the beloved of God. And so are they!
What a great reminder and challenge!