Paul And Onesimus

Gerald Kure

Gerald Kure

‘I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.’ Philemon 10-11,16 (NIV).

As a master, Philemon had the legal right to kill his runaway slave, Onesimus. But Paul wrote to his friend helping him to understand his new relationship with Onesimus who had now become ‘his son’ or a Christian while he was in goal. Paul wrote asking Philemon to not only forgive Onesimus but to go beyond this and accept him as a brother in Christ.

True forgiveness means we release the offender and release our hurt towards others. We give them peace of mind and freedom from their wrongs just as God has done the same for us. We lay aside our bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity and insults. Instead with tender hearts we be kind and show affection. Has God graciously forgiven us? Then we graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

But Paul did not just ask Philemon to forgive Onesimus. He asked Philemon to treat him not as a slave but as an equal. No longer slave and master. But equals before God. Brothers in Christ. A Christian’s status as members of God’s family transcends all other distinctions among believers.

The good news of Christ changes social structures by changing the heart of people within those structures. What Paul was asking of Philemon went way beyond the socially accepted and entrenched structures of the time. Paul was asking Philemon to change his heart. And this is what Christ asks of each believer today.

Prayer:

‘Lord, forgive me for I have not treated others as you have asked me to. I have held onto unforgiveness and feelings of superiority towards fellow believers. Lord I am ready to surrender these wrong attitudes to you. Help me to do this well. Thank you.’

In Jesus’ Mighty Name,

AMEN!

Final Thoughts:

Do we look down on fellow Christians? In Christ there ought to be no distinctions between us (Galatians 3:28). How we treat other believers is an indication of our true commitment to Christ.

Be Greatly Blessed!

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