Sunday, May 13, 2007

The bible - Philemon

I was sharing this wonderful lesson this morning taken from the book of Philemon in the Bible.

In short, this was a story of a man named Onesimus, a slave belonging to Philemon. This slave stole something from Philemon and fled but was later converted to a christian by Paul. Paul in the midst knew of the conflict between Onesimus and his master - Philemon. Paul wrote a short letter to Philemon and Onesimus returned back to Philemon.

The following principles can be derived from the above story. Firstly, of a forgiving spirit of Paul and Philemon. Paul was gracious enough to forget about the past of Onesimus and even converted him to become a christian. How many of us can really forget about the social standing of other person when you first lay your eyes on him or get to know him better thru' your usual conversation with the other party. On knowing that the other party is a slave, the social stigma comes along reminding one of the social status that one has, very much different from that of a slave, being a slave is always a slave, with a lifetime mark on him/her, that will not leave till death do they part. And so, to God, this slave is also one of his lost children and everyone of his children is of equal status to him. No matter, what colour skin you are, whether you've been a bad or good person in your life, whether you've attained a visible social status in the society that you lived in. All this are not important to him that has created this universe with his bare hands, all he demands of is that you submit to him and do his will, simple and straight forward.

Secondly, intercession of another. Paul humbly requests that Philemon will forgive Onesimus and treat him like a fellow brethen. The meaning of Onesimus is usefullness, Onesimus will be a useful tool in furthering the Lord's ministry on this earth and pleads Philemon that he will do that. Paul even took over the debt of this slave and the things that he stole and even to the point where Paul is acknowledging that Onesimus has became his son while he was in chains and a dear fellow christian to him.

Thirdly, at the end of Paul's letter to Philemon, he ends with greetings from his fellow co-workers too. Paul has in mind of the team spirit or togetherness that he shares from time to time with the rest of his co-workers and not forgetting them at all.

I posed a question to my class this morning, what if the domestic helper/maid becomes a christian, will this affect their relationship as a homeowner and a domestic helper/maid? My class oldest lady (Auntie Geow) has this reply, saying that even in a family, there are conflicts and misunderstandings, what more a domestic helper/maid in her family and a outsider too. Although, she did mentioned, that in many spiritual ways, they can share with one another in that level. I kinda of thinking about what she said this evening and have come to this conclusion. Whether you are a domestic helper, maid, slave or working for someone else. We shouldn't take advantage just because we are brothers or sisters in Christ, we should still perform our task to the best ability as possible and the rest leave it to GOD.

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