SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today we're reading Paul’s letter to a slave owner named Philemon. One of his slaves, Onesimus, had run away. While he was free, Onesimus connected with Paul and gave his life to Jesus. Onesimus then decided to return to Philemon, and Paul writes this letter to encourage Philemon to welcome back his slave lovingly and gently. In this letter, Paul shows his mastery of persuasion and diplomacy, and uses it for a good cause: Onesimus’ life.
- Philemon has a right to be angry and hold a grudge, but Paul appeals to him to forgive.
- We need to use our abilities for good causes (rather than just for our own good and gain). What cause has God put you in a position to influence?
- As Christians, there may be times when we have the right to be angry and hold a grudge, but our allegiance to God and His love at work in our lives calls us to something higher and better, forgiveness. When we forgive we are not saying what the other person did was okay; we are just releasing our right to be angry about it.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Who do you need to forgive? How could God help you to do that? What benefit would forgiving have on you?
- Today is our final day with Paul. Take some time to reflect on his life and letters. What things did Paul write about most frequently? What fears do you think he had? What have you learned about Paul that has challenged you? Encouraged you? What attitudes, character traits, or skills of Paul’s do you see in yourself, and how can you use them to benefit God’s kingdom?