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Welcome the blog of Annie Lavi, writer, joy-spreader, and God-Glorifier.

Day 5

12 I am writing to you, little children,
    because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
    because you know the Father.
14 I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God abides in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

1 John 2:12-14

I had a coach once who told my team that the day he stopped pointing out our mistakes would be the day he gave up on us getting any better.

It was a little harsh for thirteen year old girls, but it got the point across.

I don’t enjoy rebuke. I don’t know many people who do, but I think that I have a particularly bad tolerance for handling criticism, although I swear it is something I am working on. When it’s been a rough writing session, and then Paul reads my drafts and tells me that he thinks I can write something better, I try hard to remember that his advice is not a stab in the back, and he’s not being a meanie: He just believes in what I’m doing, and knows how good it can be.

I think that this tendency is universal, and it’s possible that the Holy Spirit writing through John understood that concept as well. The readers of John’s letter have been reminded of some fairly harsh truth at this point, and I think John recognizes that thus far in his letter, he’s not exactly going easy on them.

Verses 12-14 then, might be what we think of as a pep talk. I picture John and Jesus gathering the people who are reading these letters around some kind of bonfires, like it’s the night before a big battle, and the troops need to be riled up a bit after long days and nights of training. This is the point where he reminds them of their purpose, if only so they keep reading.

There is a verse in the Old Testament that says, “Without vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) I have found that to be true in my everyday life, and Paul and I apply it regularly to our workplaces, and our marriage. To thrive, we need to see the purpose behind what we are doing. John is giving them what they need to thrive, he is providing the vision that they cannot live without. He is reminding them why listening to all this rebuke is worth it.  

He tells them why they should care: “Your sins are forgiven for his name sake!”

He reminds them who their God is: “You know him who is from the beginning!”

He brings up their former victories: “You have overcome the evil one!”

He reminds them who they are: “You are strong! The word of God abides in you!”

I can imagine the churches reading this part of the letter, nodding along, feeling themselves being picked up again. Feeling not just the rebuke of the letter, but the encouragement, the urgent whisper of John saying, “You have the Lord- you can do this!”

I pray that today, we would feel the urgent whisper of John in our own lives. Would we let ourselves be encouraged by the Lord, with fresh vision, and would God give us each a pep talk of our own.

Day 4

Day 6