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Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you–I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus– 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother–especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it–to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 

Philemon Verse 8-21

Blessed are the Merciful!

Paul had met Onesimus, Philemon’s bondservant (slave) while he was in prison. Paul wanted to do the right thing, by getting Philemon’s permission to be able keep Onesimus with him, because he encouraged, helped and comforted Paul in His trials and difficult imprisonment.

Paul does Onesimus a favor and uses his position as an apostle to obtain mercy for him from his master. Onesimus ran away from Philemon, his master, and cheated him, but he was now a changed man. Paul reminds Philemon about the many things that he had done for him, even saving his life and that not only should Philemon restore Onesimus, but restore him as a brother, rather than a bondservant (slave).

These 3 men were all Christians and you can see the pattern of mercy being shown in this story – it’s beautiful, because we can see that whenever we as believers are conscious, considerate and consistent in our faith we can change lives. It’s not always easy to forgive, but it’s necessary for our own peace and to show the love of Christ. Satan’s tool is to imprison us with the shackles of unforgiveness, but God’s gift of freedom is in forgiveness.

We should use our position, authority, and power that we have in this life to help others, especially those in the Body of Christ, because we were shown mercy. Jesus left His thrown and used His perfection to live the sinless life that we couldn’t. Jesus says in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7).”

As Christians, we do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12). You never know when you may need the same mercy!

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