Spiritual Director · September 3, 2022

For the Love of Christ

For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love.

Please read Philemon 1:1-21

Philemon arguably the shortest book in the Bible. Actually it is a letter written by St. Paul to Philemon. The book is one chapter containing 25 verses.

Paul writes to Philemon regarding a slave named Onesimus. He is with Paul as Paul is in prison. Paul regards Philemon as a good friend, and he has come to have high regard for Onesimus.

As we read this letter we may wonder what it could possibly have to say to us in our world in 2022. We no longer have the institution of slavery in our country. Still Philemon is worth our Christian consideration.

There are two verses that stand out to me:

Verse 8, “For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love.”

Verse 17, “So, if you consider me your partner, welcome him (Onesimus) as you would welcome me.”

Our Christian faith is all about our relationship with Christ and our relationships with other people. We are who we are as Christians because Christ’s love for us. The love of Christ motivates us to treat others as we have been treated by Christ. In Galatians 3:28, Paul wrote, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ.

While we are not aware of people in slavery, there are people who feel disenfranchised and trapped in situations they have no control over.

People can be in bondage because of economic status, social status, and/or sexual status. They may feel they have no rights and are therefore, not equal to others in society.

That’s where we come in. The command to love by Jesus means we are to do and to be all that we can be to make life better for any who are abused or mistreated physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Love lifts up others in whatever need there is, not because we have to, but because we want to. Christ like love is the model we are to respond with whenever we see someone who feels they are not good enough or are not worthy enough. We are to show love and acceptance to those who do not think, act, lor live like us. We are to love them, not because we have to but because we are motivated by the love of Christ to do so.

What are some ways people may feel they are not equal to us?

How can we share the love of Christ to people who do not look like us, act like us, or believe like we do?

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Eric is our current Webmaster and works on the NLS Communications Team. Raised in Judaism, he found Christ and the New Testament at age 16 in a Southern Baptist Church. He searched many denominations for the real church, only to find the Holy Spirit is present in all of them. He's worked for One for Israel, a group of native Israeli believers who are sharing the gospel in the holy land in Hebrew and is part of the only Hebrew speaking seminary in Israel.