Forgiving as Christ did

Bitterness divides/forgiveness unites

Philemon 1 Today we send notes and letters via email but rarely snail mail. Imagine being in the time of Paul when a letter was handwritten and then hand carried across the many miles to a dear friend. Even though Paul is in a Roman prison as he writes, his first note is that he is prisoner of Christ. A prisoner is one who is beholden to another out of force, not willingly. In this dark, dank place, Paul was refreshed by the runaway slave, Onesimus from Colosse. How he got there and what he was doing there is a question for eternity, but God used that time to introduce him to Christ. Now Paul, probably after many a discussion, has sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter.

What can we learn from this letter? One is that Paul, even though having never met Philemon considers him a dear friend. Prov 17:9 says that the one who forgives an offense seeks love and that is what Paul is saying to Philemon. Yes, Onesimus has done wrong but now Paul says that as a new creation in Christ, I am imploring you to forgive him and include him as a brother in Christ. 

How quick we are to hang on to offenses rather than forgiving? This Sunday is Easter and it is the plainest example of forgiveness . Christ on the cross said: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. 

Do you have a grudge or an offense you are carrying? Pray as Jesus prayed. 

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