Loyalty to Each Other and to Truth
This probably goes without saying, but one thing that would be essential is Humility. Paul said, “Be completely humble and gentle. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
If there’s any pride that I think I have to be treated in a special way, and someone has to say a certain thing that will make me feel special, then nothing that we’ve talked about will work. Each person needs to make a decision no matter whether they’re person A or a B or they don’t know anything about person A or B. Each person needs to make a decision. What’s the most important thing to me? Is it my feelings, my opinions, or my reputation? Or is it the Body of Christ, that Jesus can have the Reward of His Sufferings? Am I going to crucify Him again by bringing division to the Body? Or will I be loyal to my brothers and loyal to Truth and work through any problems that come up? Because we can’t hold on to our own pride and also solve problems.
Now even after having done everything you can to be humble and generous, begging for forgiveness and laying your gift down at the altar and going to them to make it right, it is true that there are still Diotrephes in the world “who love to be first.” Paul said there are people who are divisive and factious. “Warn a divisive person once, a second time, and then have nothing to do with them.”
We’re going to believe the best about these brothers, just as we want to believe and hope the best for ourselves. Why are we any better than anyone else? Well, we’re not. We’ll assume that it’s just a misunderstanding. We’ll do everything we can in humility, in peace, in gentleness and thoroughness and assume the best without lording it over or trying to make someone else come under us. We’ll truly try to love and bring understanding. But there still will be people like Diotrephes that do “love to be first.” The world is just like that. The religious world will eat at our love feast without the slightest qualm, but blackest darkness is reserved for them. They flatter people for their own gain. Jude says there are people in the religious world that truly do want to control other people, and their hearts are truly evil.
Hopefully, we don’t know anyone like that, and there are just some misunderstandings. Even if a person had a problem like Diotrephes’, perhaps God will be gracious and bring him to repentance. So we never give up. We never give up. But that doesn’t mean we have to be slaves to Diotrephes either.
At the end of Jude it says there will be those that just want to control people and flatter people for their own gain. They are like the winds, and they’re twice dead. If there are people like that in the religious world, we don’t have to be their slaves. We’re free. We want to resolve it. We want to snatch them from the flames just like we would want to be snatched from the flames if we misunderstood something. We don’t want people giving up on us and we shouldn’t give up on others.
Having said all that, there will still be people who despise authority. I don’t mean “lording it over” authority. I mean they just don’t really want to submit to anybody. They want everybody to submit to them. They don’t want to submit one to another. You’ll meet people like that. Hopefully you don’t know anybody like that now and perhaps God will be kind and you’ll never meet anyone like that. But they do exist. And if it happens that you meet someone like that, you’ll have to have enough courage to warn them once, a second time, and then have nothing to do with them. Like Jannes and Jambres, Paul said there are people that look impressive, but have nothing to do with such as these.