Monday, December 7, 2015

DECEMBER 7 "CONFLICT WITH THE BROTHER OF LOVE?!?"

     THE reason we have conflict in the church is because some people are just jerks.  Surely it has nothing to do with us! It's always the other person that has the issues, it's always the other person who is causing the conflict. It's always the other persons conceit and arrogance that has caused us not to lie him.  He's this and she's that and if they weren't like that we wouldn't have such problems. If the Pastor wasn't so .........than I could submit to him, I would even like him.  If my ministry leader wasn't so headstrong, than I could get along with her.  But c'mon, how can you have a problem with the Apostle of Love? If there's anybody in the church you could expect not to have any relationship problems, it would be the Apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved the most.  However that's not the case is it?!  Somebody in the church had major issues with John.  "9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us."  This man is talking all sorts of trash, not against you or I or some jerk in the church, he's talking trash, and feeling quite justified against The Great Apostle John, how can that be?  What in the world could he have against the apostle of love?
     What this shows me is that I, just like Diotrephes, am vulnerable to projecting the issues in my own heart against someone else and then feeling quite justified.  It shows me that sometimes my anger against a brother and/or leader can be unjustified.  No doubt, Diotrephes made quite a case for himself, in his own mind.  No doubt, if you were to ask Diotrephes, "what is your beef with John" he would have a whole slur of nonsense to spout out, that he, himself was fully convinced, was nothing but the truth, so help him God.  I wouldn't be surprised if Diotrephes even prayed to God, to help John out with his insolence, arrogance & pride, "oh Lord, please help that prideful man out, John is his name!".
     What this shows me is that being a loving brother/sister is not going to exempt us of conflict in the church.  What it shows me is that my heart, if I'm not careful, can turn against someone that really is a good guy and if not careful, I can ruin a relationship with a good brother because my own heart isn't right.  How did this man come to think that he was more righteous than one of the original of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.  How did this man come to think that he was more noble than one of the 3 disciples of Jesus' inner circle?  There are people right now who are totally bent towards another brother or sister in the church and of all those that are holding somebody in the church in contempt, talking trash and spreading malicious lies about them, I wonder how many are justified?  I wonder how many, it's really "the other person" that is the problem and not you!  Are you acting like a Diotrephes?  Have you put yourself in a place where you think you are more just than your leader, more caring than your Pastor, more righteous than your brother?  Could it possibly be that the other person is not as bad as you have characterized them to be? Is it possible that your resentment towards this individual stems from some issues of resentment in your heart?   When you read this text today and you read how convinced and how bent Diotrephes is towards this great man of God, always remember to check yourself and make sure you never find yourself in a position where you have completely demonized someone in your mind, so much so that you will have nothing to do with the though of reconciliation. It could very well be that you are behaving much like Diotrephes.