“So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” Philemon 17-18
The Apostle Paul urged his friend Philemon to welcome a former servant, Onesimus as a brother. It’s a powerful plea, due to the wrong that had been done when Onesimus left Philemon and became a fugitive. Now, Onesimus has experienced salvation! And Philemon is faced with an opportunity to extend forgiveness and kindness.
Over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. championed the cause of reconciliation and justice in our nation. Allow Dr. King’s words, along with the wise words of the Apostle, to motivate a response of reconciliation toward those who have wronged you:
“Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love.”
We have all been wronged by others. And the sting is real. The question we must ask is this; will I decide to help them instead of defeating them when given the opportunity?
Father, on this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of remembrance, help me see the opportunities you give me to love others the way you have loved me. Amen.