Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul- an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus- I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. (Philemon 8-10 NIV)
Philemon’s pronunciation, tweaked my interest in refreshing my memory. This is a book in the NT, one chapter, very short. Who is Philemon? He was Paul’s dear brother and fellow worker. Is his name pronounced Phi or Phil? This does not matter, what matters is knowing its location and content. When thrown off by a book of the Bible, not often visited, knowing the books in order is helpful. Do you remember learning the books of the Bible?
Paul knew how to be bold, yet, chose to approach this situation in love. With age, and if seeking and growing in a relationship with Jesus like Paul, we grow wiser. I love Paul’s concern for Onesiums. His appeal to Philemon was to receive Onesimus back into their community, no longer a slave, as a dear brother. Paul claimed responsibility of any restitution necessary. He was all in- seeing his dear brother in Christ, welcomed and treated with respect. I hope when I die, one thing people can say of me…she saw through to individuals and helped them connect with individuals to further God’s Will in their lives. Normally, these are win-win connections.
Let’s be motivated to see people. There are miracle stories of God transforming hearts out of dire situations, and other times from elite circles. God loved Saul who was a pompous Pharisee and murdered Christians, yet, saw the good in Him to come. How many churches did he begin? Paul was not easily accepted by the disciples, it was Barnabas who stepped in to welcome. We all need a Barnabas, and Jesus Christ who guides and directs us through The Holy Spirt, the Spirit of Truth. Paul was confident Onesimus would be welcomed beyond Paul’s thinking. Can we have such confidence in people? Let’s try.