Diotrophes or Demetrius?

I have become concerned recently that far too many of our American population is strident. If this trait becomes evident in the body of Believers, it will cause careless loss of blessing to the entire body. That’s why I approach this subject today.

John, the apostle wrote a short little letter to Gaius whom, it appears, was a church leader. When the Bible was divided into chapters and verses for ease of study, this little letter, 3 John, turned out to be 14 verses.

Like the first two letters by John, this letter is also a tenderly written letter of encouragement. Three people are mentioned in the letter: Gaius, to whom the letter was addressed, Diotrophes, and Demetrius. Each one holds a place in John’s attention. Diotrophes is a warning to me, the reader. John apparently feels some sadness that Diotrophes did not accept John. Diotrophes “loved to have the preeminence” did not like this gentle fisherman whom Jesus loved and put into the inner circle of disciples with James and Peter. Diotrophes wanted the spotlight.

So, from the very early days of the established churches, there have always been those who “loved the preeminence” and cause strife among the body of believers. There is probably someone like that in your church. Here is the question: Is it you?

Demetrius, on the other hand, was of “good report.” He had a testimony of being a peaceful follower of Jesus. John, in fact, used Demetrius as an example because John further states, “. . . of the truth itself . . . and ye know that our record is true.” Demetrius did not cause strife; he stood unwavering but without vitriol.

When I read this short little passage this morning, I stopped and asked myself, am I a Diotrophes, or a Demetrius?

These times of introspection are essential to keeping ourselves in a place of clarity both with ourselves and God, and also with others. Each relationship is vitally important. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, wrote it down for our admonition.

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3 Comments

  1. Glenda

    This is an excellent reminder to us, and I thank you for it! I find myself checking my words often before I speak them, much more than I did when I was younger and felt that MY opinion was MOST important! I also find myself reminding myself of that old expression, “if you can’t say something good, then don’t say anything at all!” I do believe that convictions need to be expressed, but we can always find soft words when doing so.

  2. Exactly, Glenda. Prov 15 tells us much about soft words that turn away wrath. We can be foreceful without being contentious. Namecalling on fb really bothers me. It seems that just because the person is not sitting in front of us, responders to comments use rude and hateful terms. I want to be known as a Demetrius; yet, that takes vigilant introspection. I usually give my blog posts the 24-hour test. If it is still okay after 24 hours, I feel free to go ahead and post. Otherwise, rewrite, or dump.

  3. I have yet to be in a church that does not have both these guys sitting in the pews, or possibly on the platform. Diotrophes: Sometimes they leave because they’re not getting the attention they think they deserve. Other times, eventually God shuts them up one way or another and the work of the church goes on. Demetrius: Sometimes they leave because Diotrophes has prevailed. Either way, the work of God’s church goes on. The warning her is always timely, Karyl.

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