The apostle Paul writes to Philemon, “If he [Onesimus] has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ” (Philemon 18-20 ESV).
God calls us to forgive as we have been forgiven (see Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). And in this second part of our study through Philemon, we examine the call to forgiveness.
Forgiveness takes work. It’s hard to forgive. But what if there’s a work which takes place inside of us before we’re able to genuinely engage in the work of forgiving someone else?
Trying to explain Marvel comics to me is like viewing a deer in headlights. Your most elaborate explanation only draws a blank stare. Just ask a friend of mine. Educating me on the various Spiderman movies is a great way to lose my attention.
According to Thomas Frey, a futurist, “We are entering a ‘superhero era.’ Each of us think about superheroes differently, but they are far more than entertainment. For many, they add purpose, meaning, and inspiration to a world often devoid of those qualities.” In other words, Thor and Batman give people hope. Iron Man and Hulk transcend human frailties. It’s a “superhero culture.” And the most popular superhero series of our day is “Avengers.”
I recently had a conversation with a friend about forgiveness. Needless to say, it was a tough conversation.
Forgiveness is hard. It’s usually the last thing we want to do after being wronged. But God commands us to forgive others. The Bible is full of references to forgiveness.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32 ESV).
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Col. 3:13 NLT).
There’s something these two verses have in common. Yes, they’re both about forgiveness. But look a little closer. Both of these verses tell us to forgive others while also reminding us of how we’ve been forgiven.