Have you ever come across a difficult person in church, your home group or home church? The honest truth is that we are all work in process, and there are various reasons why a person can be out of character.
The bible would not state in 1 Peter 4: 8 that “ And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins”, if there was no need for it.
We are all work in progress, which means what might annoy you today, you probably would have overgrown tomorrow and the same behaviour from a person would now mean nothing.
Now let’s look at an account in the bible.
3 John 1: 9- 12 (Amplified version)
I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to put himself first, does not accept what we say and refuses to recognize my authority. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, unjustly accusing us with wicked words and unjustified charges. And not satisfied with this, he refuses to receive the [missionary] brothers himself, and also forbids those who want to [welcome them] and puts them out of the church.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but [imitate] what is good. The one who practices good [exhibiting godly character, moral courage and personal integrity] is of God; the one who practices [or permits or tolerates] evil has not seen God [he has no personal experience with Him and does not know Him at all]. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony and commendation from everyone—and from the truth [the standard of God’s word] itself; and we add our testimony and speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
If you read the above account, I think it is safe to assume the reason “Diotrephes” behaved the way he did. It’s stated in verse 11 ”he had no experience with God and did not know God”. Its one thing to believe in God, however it’s another thing to know God. The first priority of a Christian is to know God (John 17: 3). It’s when we know God that we will be able to properly represent Him in behaviour and conduct.
We can get so busy for God and have no time for Him. What do l mean? Let’s remember the rebuke in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 2: 1 to 4
2 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
If you read the above, the church was active, yet they had “Left their first love”.
It’s possible to serve God and yet don’t have time for Him.
Eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3), the more we know God and have fellowship and an intimate relationship with Him, the more this will be evident in our conduct.
So next time you come across someone who appears to be out of character, don’t be surprised. There could be many reasons for the behaviour.
Let’s put first things first. Knowing God should be our first priority. As the Lord begins to reveal Himself to us and we begin to experience Him, it will begin to reflect in our conduct and behaviour.
Sacrifice is a step beyond convenience. Bill Johnson