“This Person is a Beloved Child of God!”
Peace in Relationships
Rev. Erin Dickey
1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. (NRSV)
Reflection: Growing up in southern Louisiana, and then going to college and seminary in Texas, has led me to become very familiar with the saying, “Bless Your Heart!” You likely know this saying, too. It is often used as a way to express pity for someone — usually with irony. A fellow minister once joked that the “church” version of this is to say to someone, “Oh, they’re a beloved child of God!” when the name or words they’d like to use are far less affirming.
But what if — what if, with every person we met, our first thought about them was a sincere, “This person is a beloved child of God!” How would our interactions, our first impressions, our ongoing conversations change if we took the time to say about each person we meet, “This person is a beloved child of God!” As we seek ways to bring about peace in our relationships — our friendships, spouses/partners, colleagues, neighbors and strangers — perhaps one way to begin is by first seeing them as beloved, as a child of God, as someone who shares the peace of Christ.
In a time when we so desperately need the peace of Christ, let us see one another through eyes of compassion, acknowledging that each person we meet, each relationship we nurture and sustain, is part of a covenant with God’s beloved children. When we finally see one another through the lens of God’s perspective, how can we live in anything other than peace?
Practice for Peacemakers: You know what to do! For the next few days, try to start your conversations and meetings with one internal thought: “This person is a beloved child of God!” Let that thought peel away initial feelings of resentment and worry, and drive you to interact with the grace and appreciation that is shown to each of God’s children.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes folks seem so rude, destructive or out of the loop that we can forget their connection to You. Other times, our own biases get in the way. Help us to see past superficial differences, and even past character flaws, to get at the holy potential at the heart of each person we meet. And in so doing, help us to build peace in our relationships with those around us.
The Rev. Erin Dickey serves as senior pastor to Riverside Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Riverside-Avondale, FL.
This year’s Season of Peace Resources are designed to help participants explore practices for building peace on every scale. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Throughout the 29 days of the 2020 Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
Week 1 September 6–12: Peace Within
Week 2 September 13–19: Peace in Relationships
Week 3 September 20–26: Peace in Community
Week 4 September 27–October 3: Peace in the World
Final Day October 4: Holistic Peacemaking