Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A loving appeal

Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ—I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, - Philemon 1.8-10

Paul is an interesting character. He can be both very bold and forceful and tender and compassionate. He has the apostlic authority to, as he puts it, to command others what to do. 

When Paul wrote to Philemon you see his tenderness, his love, his compassion, and his humility. I think there is a quick and simple lesson on spiritual leadership here. 

But for love's sake he chose to appeal to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus. 

Although there is, shall we say, a polite reminder of Paul's authority, he lovingly asks Philemon to deal with the situation properly. We'll see more of that tomorrow, but for the moment let us all remember Paul's example to appeal in love instead of demanding with authority. Paul is far from the near dicatator power with which some of us are tempted to lead. 

Loving appeals get a lot more accomplished with a lot less negative response - and love ought to be enough to motivate any of us. 

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