Another threat to church unity is pride, the same sin found in Lucifer that led to his rebellion against God. Pride is the sin that turned an angel into a devil.
The Bible mentions a man named Diotrephes only once, tragically, as the man who always wanted to be first (3 John v.9). Proud people think they are very important and delight in airing their opinions, expected to be consulted regarding their opinions, and get very angry when they are not obeyed.
Proud people love church because in it they are prone to find nice polite people who are easy to take advantage of and push around. Proud people act like leaders when they are not. Proud people like to say such things as “God told me,” as if they are a mediator between God and others. Proud people only think of themselves and their family and conveniently overlook the fact that planet earth has other people in it, some of whom even have different last names than theirs. Lastly, proud people love to tell others what to do, but when confronted for their own sin of pride, will reject correction.
Pride is an ugly sin that we are guilty of to varying degrees. Pride always leads to division. The only way a church can get on Jesus’ mission and stay there is by practicing Jesus’ humility. Proud people who want to be first and are unwilling to do whatever is best for the whole church – because they are interested in their own glory more than God’s – are sinners who need to be called out to repentance, not coddled to ruinous division in the church.