December 2019, Vol. 38, No. 12

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We Will Talk Face to Face

posted on December 11, 2019

[261 words]

A line like this can make us curious: “I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face” (3 John 13-14). We can’t know for sure what else John needed to say, but we can glean some principles.

Some matters are public. The situation with Diotrephes (3 John 9) needed to be written down and handled publicly because Diotrephes’ actions were affecting the church. He not only refused to welcome brothers himself but stopped those who tried, putting them out of the assembly (v. 10). At this point, action needed to be taken to preserve the truth, not Diotrephes’ reputation.

Some matters are urgent. The brevity of the letter and the fact that John had “much to write” but didn’t take the time to do it convey a sense of urgency. John had already written one letter, and it had not been well-received (v. 9). Now, he wrote something personal to a trusted friend. He didn’t waste time with pleasantries. He focused on the urgent matter at hand.

Some matters don’t need to be known. At the end of the day, whatever John might have said just isn’t something we need to know. Curiosity can get the best of us sometimes. We can push too far, ask too many questions, and get involved where we aren’t needed or where it’s not best for us to go. It’s better to learn from what’s been said and leave what’s unsaid alone. 

“Light Moment”
from the Gospel Advocate (11/29/18)
via Graeber Road church of Christ

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