Words of Life

When “appeal” > “command”

Philemon:

  • There is so much to ponder in this short letter attempting to reconcile a runaway slave to his slave master. Today, I am drawn to vs. 8-9.
  • In truth and authority, Paul was within his rights to “command” the reconciliation to happen. Yet, Paul does not! Rather, he makes a simple “appeal.” He does this in order to allow love to take its course (vs. 9a) and to give Philemon the dignity of participating in his own sanctification. (vs. 14).
  • Is it possible that commanded obedience can thwart the likelihood of authentic reconciliation? Is there something in a person’s guided discovery of righteous decisions that opens a greater possibility for reconciliation?
    • Holy Spirit, give me the patience and self-control to endure spiritual growth processes (including my own), that the end goal would be authentic, not forced. Help me to trust Your timing in this. Help me to know how to reflect and guide this virtue in my relationships and with those I lead.

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