The Bible contains a very short book (a letter) called Philemon. This book, although shorter than a typical sports article, provides a useful lesson for us today. The Apostle Paul is requesting the freedom of a slave named Onesimus. Paul conveys to Philemon, Onesimus’ owner, he would “refresh my heart in Christ” if Onesimus was freed. Now, there are some other points we can talk about but we will concentrate only on one point today.
Who are You Holding as a Prisoner?
Who are you holding prison…as a slave to past issues? Is it your friend or co-worker? Is it your spouse? Is it God? I recently spoke with a friend about God. He, like so many who despise Christianity, espouse their outright hatred for Christianity and what it stands for because someone in the church hurt them in the past. Please note, I am only talking about my discussion about this subject for the past two decades. I do not tell them their feelings are wrong. Rather, I remind them that the church is full of imperfect people. Christians are commanded to be seperated from the world and its beliefs. However, we still live in the world and interact with non-believers. Some of those imperfect non-Christians will join the ranks of Christians. Therefore, the likelihood the church will be imperfect also. The chief difference is that Christians are constantly striving to be more Christ-like. Regrettably, we will make mistake…even when we are trying to do things in love. The point is this our mistakes may be what some will use to dislike Christianity. Let us show some grace and mercy towards them. We want them to enjoy the joy of Christ. That’s what I tried to show toward my friend. What about you? Who are you holding as a prisoner? Is it your spouse, supervisor, competitor? Let it go!
Today is the time to free them from the mental cell you’ve placed them in. It will free you to allow your mind to concentrate on nobler things. More importantly, you will be granting them grace and mercy. You know, just how Christ as shown us grace and mercy. Take time this weekend and see if you need to free your mind of past hurts and renew or refresh a relationship or two. You will benefit from it. The image of Christianity will benefit because people will see grace and mercy exhibited through you. Last, those who offended you will benefit because the pathway of a restored relationship will be opened. Ah, the power of forgiveness. Forgive as He has forgiven us (Col 3:13).
Blessings to you as you go forth and disciple all Nations in His name (Matt 28:19)