I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 1 John 2, verse 13.
This is a strange verse. Its pattern of addressing us as children, fathers, and young men carries over from verse 12 (and will carry over also into verse 14). It’s unlike anything else we’ve seen so far in the book.
Fathers knew God from the beginning. Fathers (think ‘parents’) are assumed to have grown wise, responsible, and shrewd. We are supposed to teach our children all about God; it is our first and most important duty as parents. Our second is to teach our children how to live in this world, how to know they are loved, and how to use their talents to succeed, to work, to thrive. As fathers (and mothers) we are to understand that God is in all the world, and always has been, and always will be. Our understanding is to be based on having a relationship with God and how He reveals Himself in all things throughout the world.
We learn that as young men, who overcame the evil one. Young men and women struggle to find themselves in the world. They take what they learned as children and apply it as grown adults. In doing this, we come up against some of the worst the world has to offer. An example I think of is the Amish, who actually encourage ‘wilding’ (their word for self-discovery) in their young adults. Before taking vows to live as Amish, young people are encouraged to live in the ‘English’ world to see if it is what they are called to in life. Once you take the vows, there is no going back. Young men and women ‘wild’ and come up against the enemy’s temptations. And when they learn to live through God, they overcome the evil one.
And we were all once little children who knew God the Father. When we are little kids, most of us know our parents. We know them simply as Mom and Dad, as just parents. Parents are providers, mentors, teachers, doctors, chauffeurs, policemen, rescuers, friends, playmates, guides and models all rolled into one. There is nobody else like a parent, and we each have only our own. Little children know God simply, and as awesome, and lovingly. They accept Him just as He is, as a parent, because they see Him without the filters of adulthood.
In reality, John writes to us all, channeling the Triune God to people of all ages and all times. How good is it that we can see things at just the right times, even in verses that seem strange.
Triune God, I praise you for speaking to me at all times of my life. Thank you for being divine, understanding, and my God.