9 I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, doesn’t welcome us. 10 Because of this, if I come, I will bring up what he has done—making unjustified and wicked accusations against us. And as if that were not enough, he not only refuses to welcome the brothers and sisters but stops those who want to do so and even throws them out of the church! 11 Dear friend, don’t imitate what is bad but what is good. Whoever practices what is good belongs to God. Whoever practices what is bad has not seen God. 12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, even the truth itself. We also speak highly of him, and you know that what we say is true. (3 John 9-12, CEB)
Whoever practices what is good belongs to God and whoever practices what is bad has not seen God. OK, who decides what is good and what is bad?
I have to ask this because I am writing this the day after the presidential debate in September of 2020, and there seems to have been a need for a rule that says when your time is up and the other person is talking you must remain quiet and allow the other person to speak. Now silly me, I thought this was an understanding in a debate that each person gets a turn, but in 2020 it seems we need a rule to say this. So who decides what is good and what is bad and who belongs to God and who hasn’t seen God?
Diotrephes probably thought he was fighting for God by excluding people, and that is where it starts, but my thought is that they actually followed God and then were led astray by greed or power, or not wanting to change to follow where God was taking them. It is truly easy to see how things get twisted and we think we are doing what God wants us to be we are really far from where God wants/needs us to be.
So always check yourself with others to see that you are staying with God and not following after the desires of the community. And know that only God can decide what is good, and who isn’t included.