" I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. I had many things to write, but I will not with
Diotrephes had a very high approval rating of himself. He felt himself superior to others that entered the church. He refused to welcome itinerant preachers. The brethren!! Probably because they did not meet up to his standards and preferences. Raise your hand if you know anyone like that. o/ <---that's me raising my hand. :P
On the flip side, John discusses Demetrius. A sinner saved by grace not esteeming himself better than anyone else. Someone who had a "...good report of ALL men..." I got to thinking about that. I think sometimes we think it is our duty to seek out the bad report instead of trying to find the good report in others. What makes us better than our brethren?
Mind you, there are those that cause strife and division and those people are to be marked and avoided. But that's a whole other issue. I'm talking about the poor dears that are shunned and thought lowly of because they don't fit "the mold." And too many times those that are shunned are turned off to anything Holy because of our rotten attitudes and self righteous judgements.
I was discussing a situation with someone today and how a church had treated their family. They didn't homeschool, the girls didn't wear skirts clear down to the ankle, the children were considered worldly and the parents weren't doing a good job and were looked down upon. In several instances they were shunned by the Deotrephes in that church for not meeting up to their personal standards. Even though this family has GREAT standards! And by the way, personal standards are just that....personal. I've said it here at Thimble Thoughts before and I'll say it again, the Bible says we are to work out our OWN salvation. God will deal with us according to the things He feels we need to be dealt with. It is our job to be open to His will for our lives. If we are not open and we do not allow Him to deal in areas HE feels we need to be dealt with, there, and only there, do we have the problem.
The whole point of this post is to ask ourselves how we make others feel when they enter our church and are part of God's family. Are we a Diotrephes, looking down our noses at others? Or are we Demetrius, looking for the good report in all men?