‘Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. ‘Philemon 1:15-16
Paul requests from Philemon that they would welcome, Onesimus back not as a mere slave but a brother in Christ. Onesimus had robbed and fled from Philemon and then encountered Paul and experienced the transformative power of the grace of God. Paul was so impressed with the change in Onesimus that he wanted to keep him by his side. However, he challenges Philemon to accept Onesimus back not as his former “worthless” self but a valuable brother. People from my past who may have wronged me or wasn’t are all still valuable in God’s eyes. That though, they may have wronged me, they are still worthy for me to share Jesus’s love and salvation. How forgiving am I? Am I willing to forgive and see all people as valuable? That is a challenge to my own heart.
There are not many people that have offended me such that I would need to forgive them. However, this is life on earth and there are times where my ability to forgive has been tested. What will it take for me to see ALL people as valuable?
- Remember that ALL people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I look at people and it can be easy to separate between people that like me and people that rub me the wrong way. I am not to judge anyone less important, for I really do not know their background story and who they really are. There is much that I cannot see beyond the situation, so I am not to be quick in judging others.
- I need to also remember the extent I have been forgiven. I can say that my past is not all pure and lovely, but scarred and filled with regret. Yet, through grace, I was forgiven and given a new life in Christ. Why should not others have the same chance and experience that love and forgiveness from me? (Matthew 18:27).
Jesus, thank you so much for your grace! Help me to be more forgiving and also to see all people as valuable. Help me to share your love and grace so that everyone may have a chance to experience this love and grace that changed my life. I love you so much and ever so grateful for your love and grace! In your loving Name, Jesus! Amen!