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Don’t Be That Diotrephes

Don’t be that guy is an expression that spread into the conversations of large gatherings a decade ago. This is what you say to someone who is annoying, preforming an act of stupidity or just plain lameness. While reading a letter written by one of Jesus’ former disciples, John mentions an individual who was stubborn. Despite being a member of Jesus’ inner circle, Diotrephes ignored John’s advice and input.

I have written briefly to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to take the lead among them and put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority and refuses to accept my suggestions or to listen to me, 3 John 1:9.

A pet peeve is something that a particular person finds especially annoying. This could be any act, behavior, practice or quirk that simply gets underneath your skin. While the disciple whom Jesus loved is an old man at the time this letter was written, John is looking for a little respect. The same kind of courtesy that Colonel Nathan R. Jessup was looking for in A Few Good Men.

So when I arrive, I will call attention to what he is doing, his boiling over and casting malicious reflections upon us with insinuating language. And not satisfied with that, he refuses to receive and welcome the [missionary] brethren himself, and also interferes with and forbids those who would welcome them, and tries to expel (excommunicate) them from the church, 3 John 1:10.

Based upon the context of 3 John, Diotrephes was a control freak or as some may say today, a legend in their own mind. Whenever anyone feels like they have arrived, minds become full of narcissism. This is what likely prevented Diotrephes from being open and teachable. Remember that success is the process of arriving as learning on earth never stops. Therefore, don’t that guy or modern-day Diotrephes.

by Jay Mankus


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