Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Art of Reconciliation
 Dr. Binu Chacko
St. John’s MTC, New York

15. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16. no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 
In this brief letter written by Paul during his Roman imprisonment, he pleads to Philemon for Onesimus, a slave that escaped Philemon’s home and served Paul during his house arrest. We can see how skillfully Paul made his appeal out of love and made it an opportunity for Philemon to do what is right and accept Onesimus, as a fellow man and brother in Christ. Philemon also accepted Christ through Paul, therefore he had a strong enough brotherly relationship where he could have demanded of Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother but he did not cross that boundary. He reasons with Philemon as he wants him to voluntarily choose, but highlights the usefulness of Onesimus by changing his title from slave to brother.

 The name Onesimus means “useful and profitable”. Paul claims that in Christ the useless person has been made useful but being reborn in Christ, does not end our responsibility to make restitution; it increases our obligation, even when restitution is difficult.

In our lives we have often come to a crossroad where we have been challenged, as Philemon was here, and asked to step up to help someone or understand a person’s struggle and to be their support.  We have been in positions where we have had to choose to be better men and women and do the right thing.  

We have all fallen short of the glory of God, but God respected our boundaries and allowed us to learn from our sins and mistakes and also gave us a second chance to rise up and be honest. He respects our boundaries and wants a relationship with us that is deeply honest about everything - without us fearing the abandonment and retaliation we've experienced in other relationships when we have bared our souls. Do you feel free to share your disappointment with God, your confusion, and even your anger? What do you think would happen if you were completely honest with God about your darkest sins and most hidden convictions?  Hasn’t God forgiven and accepted us as his child?

In our community, we rarely admit our wrongs, make amends, and accept others through forgiveness. We need to practice reconciliation and accept others who may have wronged us or seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt. To practice what we preach, we must not sit on the throne of judgment, but look back into our lives and see that we too have been forgiven by a merciful judge. In our places of worship, do we provide a safe space for those who have fallen short or are we sitting on thrones of righteousness and judging others.


God, give us the courage and obedience to follow you and to do your acts of kindness.


“What love we’ve given, we’ll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.” – Leo Buscaglia


Popular posts from this blog

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum