“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—” Philemon 1:1-7 NIV
Paul wanted to make a special request of Philemon. How can any believer, even a minister, demand that another believer do anything, especially if the believer differs or does not wish to do what is requested?
There are two reasons:
⇒ It is the right thing to do.
⇒ It is a believer’s duty to do it.
A believer, no matter who he is, should do the right thing. Therefore, Paul had the right to make a special request of Philemon. But note: Paul did not demand that Philemon grant the request. Instead, he urged and pleaded with Philemon because he loved Philemon.
Paul based his appeal on three things:
⇒ upon love: the love of Christ and the love of believers for each other.
⇒ upon his age. He was apparently in his fifties and no doubt his body was somewhat more aged than the average person because of the wear and tear upon his body from the sufferings that had been inflicted upon him through the years.
⇒ upon the fact that he was a prisoner for the cause of Christ. He had suffered so much in order to carry the gospel to the lost of the world, to people who were hopeless and lost just as Philemon and his family had been.
Questions for reflection:
Have you, yourself, been receptive to correction?
Is there a current situation that you should speak into and ask a fellow believer to do the right thing?
If there is, how could you frame your appeal in love?