My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2, verse 1.
I don’t usually like it when someone speaks to me as if I’m a child. I’m not a child: I’m a grown man. I’ve been to college; I’ve faced down enemies; I served my country; I’ve raised a family and built a marriage. I’ve been around, and I don’t appreciate it when my parents, my pastor, the president, or anyone on the planet to talk down to me as if I’m a child. So I need to keep in mind that John was probably an old man when he wrote these words, writing as a sage and fatherly figure to people who wouldn’t have known him when he was a younger man.
But he’s got a point too: we’re all children. We all need reminders that, to God, we are both His magnificent creation and also His children. He’s God; we aren’t. To God, we probably are petulant children, especially when we fuss – I fuss – about people not talking at us as if we’re children. I’m thinking I must look pretty childish sometimes.
My God is a patient God, though. And He’s a father. An understanding, wise, loving father. As God, man and Spirit all in one, He knows how I feel when I’m a child, and He knows how I feel when I’m a father to my own children. He’s something on His own that I can never be, though: righteous. He’s virtuous and clean without someone having to intervene for Him…like He did and does for you and me.
I need that, even when I’m doing something as simple as reading the verse. Satan plays word games with us, trying to distract us with things that are hot-button triggers. It’s easy to be distracted because ‘children’ isn’t even the full point of the verse. The real point is proclaiming that Jesus is our intercessor, our lawyer, our transference, our mediator, and our friend. Yet I foolishly get caught up in keying on a word instead of grasping the real message. That’s something kids would do.
And when I re-read that message, I’m thankful the apostle took his liberty and called me a child. Maybe he knew something I’ve forgotten.
Dear Father, thank you for your messenger reminding me of things I need to hear, like how I’m your child and how You rescue me every time I mess up. Hold me close today.