I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 3 John, verse 9.
Be ready, though, Christmas in July Followers of Jesus: we will meet Diotrephes. Diotrephes was a member of one of the churches John started. He was a doubter, a nay-sayer, and an vain obstructionist. He put his own welfare, wishes, and desires ahead of the church. As said in an earlier post, the whole letter was an encouragement written to a man named Gaius on how to deal with DIotrephes.
Tell me: would you like it if someone was talking about what a dirty so and so you were 2000 years from now? Me neither. So why are we Diotrephes?
The truth is maybe something we’ll never fully master. We have mastered sin because Jesus mastered it for us. Yet from time to time, I still find myself being Diotrephes. It’s all about me; my opinions are more important than yours. If my wife were describing me, she’d say I was “poopy.” Game, set, and match. One should embrace the truth instead of doubting it.
But there’s another truth to embrace: we are here to face up to our Diotrephes, whether he’s in the mirror or in the seat next to us. We are here to meet him where he is and be Jesus for him. Sure, our Diotrephes may need rebuking or correction, but the old saying is true that we can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. We stand a better chance of being Jesus’ representative if we love Diotrephes and listen to him. Be a friend; be a listener; be a comfort. It doesn’t mean compromising with his low principles, or giving in to him when he is caught up in the muck of sin. And it doesn’t mean we are to cave all the time to get through. John didn’t. Neither did Paul, David, Noah, Abraham, Peter, or Jesus.
Instead, we are to meet our Diotrephes where he is and be open to him. Look for common ground, strive for understand, work for compassion, bridge the abyss. We are to do these things because they’re what Jesus would do.
Jesus, help me to meet folks where they live, to see them the way You see them, and to act in ways that bring credit to your Name.