“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
It’s a new year! Maybe you enjoyed some Christmas cookies, chocolates, or even a birthday cake to honor the birth of Jesus. When you stepped on the scale, were you disappointed? Stepping on the scale after the holidays often sends a message that the new year means it’s time to have a renewed focus on your physical health. Knowing this, though, is different than lacing up your sneakers and actually going for a run or a walk.
Our walk of faith is the same. We can think about attending Sunday morning services, participating in a small group, or listening to the latest Christian podcast. Yet, there comes a time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and move from simply having good thoughts and intentions, to actually living out our faith. This will demand action.
Often the action required is a willingness to engage with other people. And this is where things can get complicated! Why? Because people are messy! This reality provides the Big Idea of our sermon this week: People are messy, and peacemakers are tough.
Paul takes a posture of toughness as he puts himself right in the middle of a messy situation. He knows that Philemon’s emotions could potentially be high as he is asked to receive his former slave, Onesimus. Yet the potential for high emotions does not deter Paul from encouraging his friend Philemon to take an opportunity to accept and forgive instead of responding harshly.
Are you willing to enter the mess, and be tough?
Lord, please soften my heart. Help me in those relationships that are most messy. Show me today what it means to be a peacemaker. Lead me to take opportunities to forgive. Amen.