The Book of Philemon is a great example of how Christians should respond to conflict. June Hunt takes seven practical principles from Paul’s letter to Philemon that we can apply when aiming for reconciliation after conflict.
- HUMILITY—Don’t use your higher position to take advantage of those in a lower position.
“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 8–9)
- INTEGRITY—Be absolutely honest about the problems.
“…that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.” (Philemon 10–11)
- VULNERABILITY—Share your heart feelings.
“I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.” (Philemon 12-13)
- SUBMISSION—Don’t force an action not under your control.
“But I did not want to do anything without your consent…” (Philemon 14a)
- OPTIMISM—Expect the best of another.
“… so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary.” (Philemon 14b)
- FAITH—Remember the sovereign hand of God.
“Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.” (Philemon 15–16)
- EXHORTATION—Choose your words carefully.
“Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.” (Philemon 21)
Key Verse to Memorize
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)
Article Used by Permission from Hope for the Heart©
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