Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker--also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier-- and to the church that meets in your home: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philemon 1:1-3
Grace-receivers should be grace-givers. Those who have been given much should be generous in giving back. Those whose thirst is quenched should offer a drink. Those whose stomachs are full should share a bit of food. Those whose barns are overflowing should be more than generous with the overflow. But ... it's not always the case, is it?
Paul writes this very tactful letter to a believer named Philemon with a specific purpose in mind. Philemon's slave, a man named Onesimus, had stolen from Philemon and run away. In Paul's day, this act was punishable by death. But in God's sovereign plan, the fugitive slave met Paul and trusted in Christ. As a follower of Jesus, Onesimus was willing to return and make amends even if it meant death. So Paul wrote this personal appeal to ask Philemon to show grace and accept Onesimus as a Christian brother. Paul's appeal is based on grace. Grace-receivers should be grace-givers.
Many of you are reading this with some longstanding relational issues. You are estranged from your mom, dad, sister, or brother. You are distanced from a son or daughter. You are separated from a friend. There is a wedge between you and your spouse. Sure there are reasons. Sure you got hurt. And yes, maybe it was mostly their fault. But anything people have done to us, we have done to God ... many times over. And He extends His grace and forgiveness. If He is willing to forgive us, we must be willing to forgive others. Grace-receivers must be grace-givers. That's a foundational truth for a follower of Jesus. Make the phone call. Write a note. Send an email or text message. You are a grace-receiver. Be a grace-giver.
Lord Jesus, please give me the grace right now to extend grace to _________________. I do this because I follow the greatest grace-giver of time and eternity. In Your name. Amen.