1 John 2:7-11
“Beloved.” It’s an archaic word that we don’t use much today. It only shows up in death notices. “Mary Smith, beloved wife of Johnny.” People used it to address or refer to those they loved. It described a person who was dearly loved or greatly loved. Beloved. Be-loved. Today we’re going to use it. Imagine a blank sheet of paper with the word “Beloved” at the top. Imagine it’s your list of beloved people in your life. Now whose names would you write on that page? Let’s say God is already on the page. So these are names of people in your life. Who is on your list?
If you’re married, hopefully your spouse would be up there. If you’re engaged or dating, your partner would make it. Maybe there’s someone you secretly love although you’re not sure if they love you. If you have kids they would likely be on that list. Maybe your parents would be on there; your brother; your sister; your relatives; your in-laws; friends; grandparents; grandkids. What about coworkers; colleagues; your boss; people in this church; your neighbors?
Who’s on your beloved list? But there might be times you want to delete people from that list. Those of you who have brothers and sisters – do you always feel great love towards them? Do you desire to hug them and share notes of appreciation with them? Maybe not always. There are times when spouses hurt each other. Kids do things that hurt parents. Parents say things that hurt kids. Relatives annoy. In-laws are weird. Grandparents are old fashioned. Coworkers? We work with them, but it’s not like we love them. People in the church – some are great. Others annoy or anger us. We disagree and when push comes to shove they certainly would not make our “beloved list.” This love thing is not so easy.
Let’s try something else. Imagine another sheet of blank paper. At the top of this one, we’re going to invent a word. “Behated.” If the people on the loved list are those who are greatly or deeply loved, the people on the behated list are those we struggle with. They anger and annoy us. Whenever we see them or talk to them or someone talks about them or something rises up in us. Something snaps.