May 24, 2019
Reconciled to God and to One Another
It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.
─ Philemon 15, 16 NLT
The book of Philemon is an appeal from the Apostle Paul to his friend, Philemon, to reconcile with a runaway slave, Onesimus. Paul spent time with Onesimus while in prison and led him to Christ. Eventually Onesimus decided to return to Philemon, and Paul sent this letter with him, pleading with Philemon to reconcile with his new brother in Christ.
In those days, a master had every right to kill a runaway slave, and on top of that, he’d stolen something on his way out. As an elder in the church, Paul could have used his authority to demand Philemon to deal kindly with Onesimus, but instead he appealed to Philemon’s commitment to live a life pleasing to Christ (v. 8-9). Paul also promised to restore to Philemon whatever he’d lost because of Onesimus’s actions.
Paul’s urgency for reconciliation and forgiveness between his two brothers in Christ, is a powerful image of Jesus’ heart to see each one of us reconciled to the Father and to one another. It isn’t forgiveness alone that Jesus offers, but new life and new relationship.
Today’s One Thing
Reflect on what being reconciled to the Father means to you. In what ways can you offer reconciliation to someone in your life today?