You Must Listen to Me! (says the abuser)
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. (3 John 1:9)
Abusers, as most all of you know through years of grievous experience, possess a mentality of incredible entitlement. One of the typical displays of this is their insistence that everyone listen to them. Hear what they say. Do what they command, and so on. No doubt Diotrephes was one of these wicked ones. Everyone was to listen to him, not to the apostles. I sure would have liked to have been present when John arrived and took care of this guy for all to see!
I remember dealing with such a person who evidenced this very kind of presumption. “If you had only listened to me.” “Look what has happened because you didn’t listen to me.” “I told my wife that she must obey me.” It didn’t matter that a whole group of people disagreed with this fellow and considered what he said to be wrong. Nope. They all should have listened to him.
Whether a person like this is operating in a family or in a church, his expectation is the same — everyone must listen to him for true wisdom and anyone who does not is an idiot or rebel. It doesn’t really matter what the topic is, HE is to be listened to and obeyed. His lust for power and control is rabid, and like a rabid dog he will attack viciously anyone who fails to hear him.
You can see how this demand that he be listened to and obeyed plays right along with the abuser’s insistence that he is never wrong.
It still amazes me to think back to the times when I have seen this evil play itself out right in front of me. Here sits a man, clearly and plainly in the wrong, in sin, being confronted by a group of people who have finally caught on to his devious tactics. Yet he will not admit wrong. He will look up at everyone, often playing the poor wronged victim, and tell them all, “you should have listened to me.”
Well, we did listen to him. For many years we listened to him. But no more. Now we know who and what he is.