There is a thing called the “imposter syndrome”, which leads well qualified people to think that they are a fraud, and do not deserve the position or qualifications they have achieved. It may be that, having been shut away in Covid lockdown, more of us will feel strange as we take up former work or responsibilities.
Certainly, when John writes of Christians as the loved children of God ( we read 1 John 3:1-7 ) there will be some who feel “What, me?”. It is amazing, and sometimes challenging, to recognise ourselves as having this status. Imperfect as we, and others we join in our congregations, are, we are still given this identity. Children of God, with all that implies for now and the future.
It is this gift of love that motivates a Christian response. Being loved, we want to learn to love. Being forgiven, as we still need to be, we come to ask questions about how, if God forgives us, then others can also be forgiven. If God can forgive them, how can we withold our forgiveness? And so the questions go on. A God of truth is trustworthy and promise keeping, so we should learn to be the same. A creator God values the world, and it is time we looked to the impact our lives have, and waste and spoil less.
John knows that some people in those communities claim to be perfect, while others insist that what they do has nothing to do with their “spiritual” state. He will have none of it. Christians are God’s loved children; they remain liable to make mistakes, even serious ones, and need forgiveness. At the same time, the love that reaches out to us demands a response of imitation as we value the God who offers so much. Getting it right is not easy, but the effort is essential, and rewarding!