S (Scripture): Philemon 1:8
So, although I have quite a lot of confidence in Christ and could command you to do what is proper, 9 I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love – I, Paul, an old man and even now a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus – 10 I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, 11 who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me.
O (Observation): Paul, tempted to use earthly authority, chooses instead to make an appeal to Philemon on the basis of love. He wants Philemon to treat the slave (and fellow believer), Onesimus, with great care.
As a Phariseee, Paul had lived the life of using Authority to make others submit to a set of beliefs…at this point, Christ has already come to Paul to show him and all people a better way – a way based on love and challenge.
A (Application): “…deliver us from evil.”
So often, we make arguments for the sake of winning, or for changing someone’s mind. I wonder what love can do for these arguments / conversations? I think evil is present in too many of our confrontations. Winning is most important.
I realize it’s a little bit “pie in the sky,” but what can happen when two sides disagree, but appeal to one another based on mutual love?
When it comes to playing a game, I’m okay with winners and losers…but when a potentially church-dividing issue rears its ugly head, I wonder how Paul’s approach could impact a conversation?
When was the last time you had a divisive issue come up? How was it handled? Any regrets? Did you seek forgiveness, if that was necessary? How about the other way around?
P (Prayer): Lord, you can protect us from evil / the evil one. Help us to see that you have conquered the devil and all of his temptations. Help us to look on one another with love…to deliver us from evil. Amen.