A New Testament Mess
How will God get glory from a messy situation?
Use appeals when possible (v.8-10)
- Appeal: always first, and when you're in a peer relationship.
- Authority: when the greater good is at stake.
- Autonomy: only separate when you can no longer walk together.
Look for changed hearts in the lives of those around you (v.10-11).
- The life change doesn't necessarily take away the consequences or repair the trust, but it can change the trajectory of the relationship.
Recognize that compulsion generally doesn't build relationships or honor God (v.12-14)
- Paul protected the relationship by leaving the decision to Philemon.
- A heart that gives from duty is not as honoring as a heart that gives cheerfully.
Try to find Kingdom Perspective (v.15-16)
- Is God at work in ways I cannot see?
- Is there a bigger picture to be grasped?
- Do I value being right or being in right relationship?
Forgive because it's necessary; seek restoration because it's favorable (v.17-19)
- Paul doesn't ask Philemon to forgive - he expects it.
- Restoration isn't always possible, but it can be sought and is the best outcome.
State clearly any terms of the changed relationship (v.20-22)
- Sometimes relationships change because of time or circumstances.
- Paul went from the giver to the one in need.