We don't really know who the lady is that John is writing too but we can tell a few things from what John writes:
- She appears to be a Christian leader with God-given reponsibility for others (v1)
- She is someone who teaches and shows others how to follow Jesus (v4)
- She has worked hard at it (v8)
- She could benefit from a reminder to keep loving others (v5-6)
- She could also benefit from a warning about false teachers that are around (v8-11)
- She's a good friend of John's and well worth visiting in person (v12)
- She is well-loved by other Christians where John is too (v13)
I think there is a lot we can learn from this letter but the one thing that jumps out at me is the fact that even Christian leaders that have been chosen and are hard-working and gifted, need reminders to keep loving others and warning not to fall into wrong teaching. We need to remember that none of us has all the answers and so it's quite possible for us to be swayed into wrong thinking or wrong actions that don't show love. Loving others doesn't mean going along with whatever they believe. Truth is still truth and it is the truth about Jesus that unites Christians because God is living in them by his Holy Spirit. If we're Christians, let's make sure that we're not too cocky that we think we can't go wrong!
- If you're a Christian, ask God to show you someone who you can remind and encourage to continue in God's love and who possibly needs a stabilising hand to hold them strong through a wobbly time where they could potentially give up on the truth. Maybe you could write to them like John did or go see them!
- If you're not, consider the Christians you know and their attitude towards you. How much do they care about you and do they ever explain how their beliefs differ from yours? Maybe you could challenge them to show more love to others or to explain themselves more clearly (or do both at the same time)!