Two words that Bro. Ed used in today’s devotional are some of the most challenging words for those who profess faith in Christ. “Forgive Onesimus,” is a clarion call. Onesimus had been Philemon’s possession. Now, Paul says, “he is much more than that to you: he is your beloved brother!”
Perhaps Philemon would have forgiven Onesimus even without Paul’s letter, but with the letter, Philemon is being reminded of something all those in Christ must remember: Christ forgave us when we were slaves to sin. If we were to have learned anything it is others need forgiveness just as we did. If I can’t forgive a brother who turns from sin to serve God, how can I claim to be Christlike?
I was part of a conversation once in which I heard a brother wish condemnation and imprisonment on a group of people who had been accused of a crime. No one likes to think he/she is “soft on crime,” but I wondered if his only son had been one of the accused would he be as quick to condemn and imprison him.
Here’s my point: for those who are willing to turn from sin in repentance and obedience to Christ shouldn’t we remember how enslaved we were and offer them our support instead of wishing for their condemnation and continued imprisonment to sin? You tell me.