9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. (3 John 9-10a)
I wonder what it is like to be known for running your mouth. Sure, I speak publicly, regularly, and that is not what I am talking about. Diotrephes is known by everyone to be the parking-lot gossiper. He talks bad about people openly. I wonder, did this start with, “You should know”. Or maybe, “I’m saying this out of love”. By the time John writes Diotrephes is a full-on fool.
Still, what is it like to be known as a pot stirrer? A divisive, “wicked nonsense” talker? The thing about talking- someone has heard it. John says to not imitate that person. Mercifully, John does not pronounce a direct sentencing. He calls Diotrephes “wicked” and tells us not imitate evil.
James is the book we may automatically quote of when sins of the mouth are brought up but reread 3 John. In a letter with fifteen verses vocalization words are used nine times! (Pray, testified/testimony, hear, talk[ing]). John seems to be making sure that nearly everyone in this letter is talking. In verse 4 John hears talk of proper living and writes that it gives him “no greater joy”. Demetrius gets good greetings from the Jesus Himself! But, poor ol’ Diotrephes has even started believing his own hype and taking action where there is no scripture. People are being “put out” of the church because it has to be his way.
Move forward. Ignore the Diotrephes’s of the world and pay attention to Demetrius. People talk about Demetrius, too. Verse 12 reports that Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone… Verse 11 tells us not to imitate evil but imitate good. Promote the good things in your life and squelch that other noise.
John starts the letter by praising Gaius for his daily walk. He ends the letter by praising Demetrius for his daily walk. People can do good! You can do good. Let it be said of you, “indeed you are walking in truth”. A portion of the praise Gaius receives is for his work with other Christians. Take the time to build up your brothers/sisters. We all get so busy, so often. After all, if you do not stay busy the lights do not stay on- but stepping in the light of God should never be neglected either