humor with depth

Let God’s Forgiveness Set You FREE!

It is Sunday morning and I am waiting for the coffee to quit brewing so that I can suck some down.  I was exhausted last night after not sleeping well the night before AND a weekend full of “getting on my Jesus” at a Beth Moore Conference.  The worship, if you have ever been is second to only what I think Heaven will be like and then Beth always bring a fresh anointed message that no matter who you are, if you listen you will God himself speak through her.

This weekend she spoke on the book Philemon which has only 25 verses.  It has 355 Greek words (so we did some Greek class this weekend) and it is located between Hebrews and Titus.  Beth will be so proud of me, as I am a good student who took notes.  The whole book is a personal letter from Paul to Philemon.  Paul was in prison writing Philemon about one of his slaves that had escaped from him and “caused him harm” (perhaps stole from him or left him hanging).  Paul, who led Philemon to the Lord basically tells him in the letter to forgive his slave, Onesimus and Paul will pay any debt that Onesimus might have, incurred by his leaving.  You see, in that day if a slave left and then came back or return their fate was pretty much death.  The slave could be beaten, crucified, or given such intense work to do that their life expectancy would be shortened.  So why would Paul want to put Onesimus in danger by sending him back to him with this letter from Paul?

According to what we know about the “rest of the story” it is believed that Paul sent Onesimus back because Paul knew that Philemon had it in him to forgive in a huge way.  We have always heard that God won’t give us anymore than you and He can handle, right?  Sometimes God HAS to push us beyond ourselves because He knows we have it in us.  Have you ever been faced with a situation that you had to dig DEEP down into the core of your being and ONLY with God’s help can you forgive?  I have!  It is a painful journey that I made a few years ago and when I allowed God to heal my heart, like ONLY He could, I realized that the forgiveness was powerful and life-changing!  Reconciliation trumps the risk!  Beth’s point was, “much of  the good that is in us stays IN until it is forced OUT.”  God knew that the ability to forgive was within me and when I experienced it, in my own situation, it would give me a glimpse of how God forgives and it would show what is really inside.

Well, you might ask yourself if Philemon forgave Onesimus and the answer has to be, yes!  If he hadn’t, then the letter itself would not have become part of the new testament as we know it.  I guess someone needs to hear about forgiveness today.  When you don’t forgive, it really just hurts you as you have to hold on to the grudge and toxic feelings that permeate every part of your being.  So, go ye therefore and reconcile!  Tis the season to be jolly and let God’s forgiveness set you free.

 



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