Posted: February 7, 2014 by abestratton in Bible Reading Plan, Resources

It’s one of the hardest things that we do – to say, “I forgive you.”

When someone wrongs us (whether it’s stealing from us, trashing our reputation by gossip, or robbing our virginity by molestation), they have created a debt. They owe us something. And it’s in our human nature to demand something back from them. We want them to suffer; we want them to be locked up; we want them to repay what they’ve stolen. Ultimately we want justice.

But forgiveness is releasing that debt – letting it go – allowing someone to walk away without repaying anything. That’s hard, and sometimes it’s seemingly impossible.

But that’s exactly what God did for us. He sent His Son to suffer the punishment which we deserved for the debt we had created against Him by our rebellion and disobedience. Since Jesus suffered instead of us, God forgives His children; He lets them walk away free, without having to repay their debt. (We never could anyway!)

In Paul’s little letter to Philemon, another believer who owned slaves, Paul encourages Philemon to forgive Onesimus, a slave who had wronged his master. But Paul’s plea to Philemon was not just that he let the wrong go; Paul wanted Philemon to go beyond that.

Here’s an introduction to the letter. Read the letter here. And here are questions for this week’s reading.


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