God’s First Aid Kit for the Broken and the Lost

By Michael Giere Published on June 13, 2024

Age often mediates our life’s experiences, turning them from the emotions that frequently imprison us in our youth and leaving them free to pasture with the truth. For some, this is where wisdom becomes a crown and the mind’s vision sharpens.

When the Apostle John, son of Zebedee and the first cousin of Jesus, was an older man — perhaps nearing his eighties — he could look back over the many decades of his journeys and discipleship from first encountering the Light of the World to the crucifixion and the ensuing years as the Temple in Jerusalem fell to the Roman boot. He was there as the Church grew and travailed through oppression from both Jewish leaders and governing tyrants — and from within its own ranks.

In these later years, John wrote the Gospel of John, the letters of 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, and the Book of Revelation. He needed the intervening forty-odd years to mature and age like a fine wine. Then the man who (along with his brother James) the Lord called one of the “Sons of Thunder” finished his race well.

Exquisite Words

He left us a treasure trove of exquisite words that speak as loudly — perhaps even more loudly — today as they did two thousand years ago. His opening in the Gospel of John thunders across history and demands an accounting from the wise and foolish alike.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

If the Gospel of John was primarily evangelistic — “These [words] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name” — then 1 John might be the first aid kit for the broken and lost, and those dealing with false teaching: “We proclaim to you the message we have heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

Deep Waters

Are you in the deep waters that confronted King David in Psalm 69? Are you in the miry depths without a foothold? Are you worn out from calling for help? Do some people hate you without reason or mock you? Does the secret life you are living trap you and fill you with regret, shame, or numbness in your soul? Is an addiction costing you your relationship with your loved ones? Has love turned to hatred or twisted what was once a life-giving relationship into mere duty?

Here, the old man, John, offers the rescue kit filled with bandages, ointments, medicines, and a final cure to remind, teach, and then save us from what ails us. In 1 John, we read the habits of the heart anew, spread throughout Scripture, but brought into surgical sharpness in a few pages.

When the darkness passes, the true light will shine all the more, and in it, we can fully grasp that love is not about us as worthy recipients, but, as John tells us, “We love because he first loved us.”

In this tiny letter, we hear we must own our unmet needs. For some, this will mean that they see any addictions — whether to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, or serial bad relationships — not as the consequence of circumstance or someone else’s actions (real or imagined) that caused the pain we seek to anesthetize. We must examine our own role in those situations.

John puts it this way in 3:19-20: “[We know] we belong to the truth and set our hearts at rest [whenever] our hearts condemn us. God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

You can’t divest yourself of something you don’t own.

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Clear of addictions, we can discover the only thing that will meet our needs — the Living Truth, found only in Jesus Christ. When the darkness passes, the true light will shine all the more, and in it, we can fully grasp that love is not about us as worthy recipients, but, as John tells us, “We love because he first loved us.” It is the profound action by the God of all love and sealed by the Cross for you and me.

In Love’s light, we can see that we need to set boundaries, accept them, and choose prudence over the whims the world presents as delights. And, in that process, we choose not to use others.

Children of God

Others of us without addictions have claimed despair and pain as ever-present shadows. They could take the form of a lost love, a lost fortune, a lost avocation or a lost dream, a lost friend or a lost companion, a lost faith, or even a lost God. Perhaps it is a road that was taken in haste. Whatever it is, the remedies in the first aid kit of 1 John, as with addiction, only work when we own our issues by name with a clear title. Our mourning can only continue to exist when we have a small view of God.

John begins chapter 3 with an incredible truth, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us.”

Did you see that? He has lavished — piled on, smothered us like a chicken fried steak — in the glorious gravy of His love. And it gets even better! Don’t miss this.

John reveals our real identity. We’re not addicts enslaved to drugs or sex or just rotten people who use others like Kleenex. If we step into the Light, we become “children of God.” And we’ll know our brothers and sisters from the false teachers and impostors because they will be marked like us by how they live and how they love.

Everything we do or desire should come from the love of God so that He will be glorified in everything.

Everything.

 

Michael Giere writes award-winning commentary and essays on the intersection of politics, culture, and faith. He is a critically acclaimed novelist (The White River Series) and short-story writer. A former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, he was a senior executive in both the Reagan and the Bush (41) administrations, and in 2016 served on the Trump Transition Team.

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