Dealing with wounds and danger in the flock
S - 3 John 1:9-13 (NASB)9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.
O - Wow, John almost sounds like Paul in this letter, which is definitely a letter of encouragement and a letter of rebuke. I say he sounds like Paul because in many of Paul's letter to the church's he planted there was a hint of a strong correction, coupled with words of encouragement, and guidance on how to navigate the circumstances, followed by the promise (threat even) of an in person appearance. There are great leadership and shepherding gems to be mined from these verses. First off we can see examples of whom we might see in our own church or ministry. The Diotrephes' are present in our church today, those who love to be first, and are not teachable or correctable. John points out these deeds are to be called attention to by leaders, and the rest of the sheep are to be reminded not to imitate such behavior. John points all of this out in a short letter, and doesn't get into the details of the situation, either because the recipients of letter will know what and whom he is speaking of, but I believe it is also because John is a wise leader, in that he knows some matters need to be handled face to face, a letter (or email) will not be effective.
A - The application for me is as a shepherd leader I can pick up some good tools for my shepherding tool bag to be carried around and used when appropriate. First off as shepherds we must realize that among the sheep their may be those sheep who are sick and wounded and as a result they affect the rest of the sheep. As shepherds we are to know our flock and when we see someone who may be wounded and out of this woundedness, wounds others in their path. We should do what all good shepherds would do, protect the sheep, and go after the one who is wounded with love, kindness, and correction if necessary. The correlary to this is that at times their may be wolves in sheep clothing among your flock, these are even more dangerous and need to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. Secondly, John gives us a great shepherding gem, we are to use discernment to the situation and in cases where the flock is at risk you must deal with situations face to face, an email, or a subtle comment in a group meeting just won't do. In face to face, we can directly address issues, bring them to forefront, and often time the corrections neccesary will be more effective when a person to person contact is made. In a time when email, text, and Facebook communications are available, we must be careful to handle communications and correction in an appropriate forum for the situation, as shepherds our job is to use the correct tools for the job.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would teach me and give me wise discernment of when to apply these new shepherding tools that you have revealed through scripture. I pray that my eyes would be open to see those wounded and in need of care, and I would be able to see the wolves amongst the flock. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.