God called us Beloved from the beginning, and Jesus, God in the flesh, spoke Beloved over us again and again as he walked among us.
The book of Luke records one of those moments. It’s a story, actually, that Jesus told: about a man battered, a man bereft, a man broken by the sins of others. A man not unlike you and me. This man was attacked and robbed, then left for dead on the side of the road.
Many religious leaders walked past this man, blatantly choosing to neglect their hurting neighbor. And then—an enemy walked by. “A despised Samaritan”—a man whom the Jewish people would have dismissed and kept their distance from by virtue of his ethnicity and religion—saw the dying man and felt compassion for him.
Jesus describes in stunning detail what the good Samaritan’s love looked like: “The Samaritan soothed [this man’s] wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him” (Luke 10:34, NLT).
Jesus paints a picture of a love that bears another’s pain.
Jesus paints a picture of a love that bears another’s pain, a love that moves toward another, a love that nurses wounds, a love that brings the hurting person home, a love that provides, a love that heals, a love that deems the unlovable worthy of love. Though this is a story about how we ought to love our neighbors and our enemies, it is simultaneously a picture of the depth of God’s love for us, even while we were still sinners, even while we were his enemies (Romans 5:8, 10).
This is not a you are tolerated kind of love.
Not an I love you for your potential kind of love.
Not a strive and hustle kind of love.
Not an earn it if you’re lucky kind of love.
Not a leave you in your ditch of despair kind of love.
Not a put you on a scale and measure you kind of love.
Beloved, God’s love for you in Christ is nothing short of all-consuming. His love is a love that triumphs over every abusive tactic, prudent or otherwise, of the enemy. God’s love is anointing oil. His love is warm, soothing wine. His love is a bandage that binds. His love finds you, abandoned in your trauma and rejection, lifts you out, and brings you home, where your hungry, hurting soul can at last find its fill, can at last find its rest—in him.
Did God really say you are his Beloved?
Oh, yes, my friend. He did.
This is your first name, your true name.
So breathe, little soul. Slow down, little heart. What are you striving for? What are you after? You already have God’s approval and love. You are already known and accepted. You already have victory in Jesus. So return to your rest, for the Lord has been good to you.