Today was filled with many wonderful moments…I took the ‘Littles’ a little earlier than the rest of the family to Cabella’s to do some shopping and for the kiddos to see all the taxidermy animals, which they loved! Then, Marianne and the older girls came, and we saw Santa. We did a little more shopping at Cabella’s and then headed to the Seattle Premium Outlets to do even more shopping. Then later this evening I took my mom out to dinner for her birthday which was last weekend, but I was on the East Coast on business. Finally, I came home, and Marianne was just putting the finishing touches on lighting the Christmas tree. A great day!
8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— Philemon 1:8-9 [ESV]
I know this is just a short passage today, but it really hit me how Paul is taking a loving approach to Philemon to take back Onesimus into his care. I think there are so many times were we feel ‘Justified’ in making stronghanded suggestions for our fellow believers..,and in accountability, these are sometimes warranted. But, here you see not only Paul’s love for Philemon but his respect for him as well and a desire to appeal to his godly character that Philemon’s sanctification has benefitted him. I have been sitting here thinking about the times that I have maybe been too quick to pronounce something that needs to happen versus ‘appealing’ to the biblical sensibilities of a fellow believer. If you think about it, it tears down a lot of the potential for conflict where a receiver is forced to face what Jesus has to say in the bible for a given situation rather than respond with a knee-jerk of the flesh to the perceived mandate.
Even when it comes to my own household it can be better to appeal to a fellow believer’s heart in the suggestion of a biblical way forward. Obviously, this is a harder approach with someone who is ‘of the world’ and has no interest or investment in how the Lord would have them act. Prayer goes before and I myself must be aligned with the heart of God before approaching someone about a path forward that is like the one with Paul and Philemon here.