Are You Wearing Compassion

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Philemon 1:1 KJVS

[1] Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

I encourage you to take a few minutes of your day and read the book of Philemon if this blog stirs your soul. I think most of us can relate to an act of betrayal by someone we love. It doesn’t have to be an affair, it can be even the smallest of betrayals;  but any act by someone we love that shows a lack of consideration or respect for the depth of love in a relationship, hurts. For Philemon, this wasn’t a betrayal by a friend, or perhaps he was, but Onesimus the character for which Paul is writing, was a slave who had run away. That was a crime punishable by death. A crime every child of God is guilty of.

The book of Philemon struck a chord with me today because of a need to forgive some people in my life. People who likely don’t even know, or care that I have ought against them. They’re not friends, they’re just acquaintances through someone else. But their actions hurt someone I love. So therefore, I ain’t happy. And if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Or so they say. 🙂 Actually, that’s not true either. I generally don’t even let people know that Momma ain’t happy. Believing another of Paul’s theories of behavior in 2 Corinthians 2:1-2

[1] But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. [2] For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?

But Philemon was such a good place for me to be in spiritually today. Reminding me that the world is need of the forgiveness of children of God. Those who understand the ultimate cost of it by Christ, else how will the world ever know there is a difference.

What makes this story such a wonderful Christian reminder is the fact that a man of such great stature took the time to write a letter, while he was suffering in prison. He did so to defend a slave and seek out the compassion of his owner to treat the slave not as the piece of property he was, but as a brother in Christ, an equal to the owner. Glory to God that stirs my soul!!!

Betrayal is harsh, personal and it cuts deep. How many times had Paul been betrayed? It didn’t matter to him, because he looked at the ultimate betrayal he himself had committed against the Lord and it’s where our spirit of forgiveness should come from. That is the chastisement I feel in my soul this morning. I know we’re all human, but humanity is not an excuse in the scope of eternity. While I can get in the flesh and say, “look what they’ve done!” I can just as easily get in the Spirit and say “look what I did.”

Paul knew that Philemon was within his rights as a slave owner to be upset with Onesimus. But he appealed to him not as a slave owner, but as one who had been freed from the bondage of sin in his own life. According to one commentary, there is evidence that a slave who was initiated into the owners religion was no longer a slave, but because of the common bond, was a free man. When Onesimus had left Philemon, he wasn’t a believer, but as God would have it, he met Paul and found his name written in a book of eternity, both on this earth and in Heaven.

Are there people, who through our treatment of them, can be found to be written down in the book of Life because God made them a divine appointment with us? What if at that appointment we treated them like dung and they were forever lost? Will we not be held accountable? Paul both showed and taught compassion. For me today I have an assignment from the Lord, perhaps it’s yours too. Compassion, wear it well my friends.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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