Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for a peace at this time.
3 John 9-12 (NRSV)
I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Everyone has testified favorably about Demetrius, and so has the truth itself. We also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.
Has someone ever spread false rumors about you? I thought this was the type of behavior that would end after high school, but unfortunately I see it in adulthood as well. One time, not long after I moved to a new setting, someone was spreading information about me that was just plain incorrect. I can only assume the intended effect was that people would not trust me or want to participate in ministry with me. Although I thought of a million things to say or do that would bring me perhaps an immediate feeling of cleverness, instead I decided just to love that person more. I took an interest in that person’s family and inquired often about them. I made extra effort to visit more people in the community and build relationships with them intentionally, so they could see my true self. When that image was at odds with the rumors, the rumors eventually fell away. We often do not know what struggles a person is enduring; loving a person who disparages you is difficult, but it is the way we demonstrate Christ’s love to our brothers and sisters.
God, help us to forgive as Christ forgave. Help us avoid evil behavior when we feel defensive. We want to be people of good hospitality, and we want to be in loving communities. Guide us and strengthen us through your Spirit. Amen.
Go with God.